First off, I apologize if anyone's RSS readers sent them here a few days ago to find, uh, NOTHING. I accidentally pressed the wrong button combo on my itty-bitty keyboard and published this one WAY prematurely. Here it is, for real this time:
In second grade I wrote a report on Mary Lou Retton, and my fascination with gymnastics was born. Never mind that I was consistently picked last in Gym due to my general sport apathy and a severe lack of coordination. My sister and I began diligently practicing headstands on our parents' bed (against the wall, because you better believe that otherwise we would have fallen right over) and forced my mom to watch us execute lopsided cartwheels in the front yard. "Was that one straight?" I would ask her. "Was that one?" They never were.
As a class assignment in third grade (I think it was third grade—I found it in a folder with other third grade stuff, so I'm going with it), we had to write a short play, and the best ones (as selected by our teacher) would be performed in a lunch-hour production. The following is an abridged version of my entry, Gymnastics Camp, about the cutthroat world of elementary-aged gymnasts. Needless to say, it did not get picked.
Gymnastics Camp [Not only did I not do gymnastics, I hadn't even been to camp when I wrote this.]
Setting: At Julie's house
Narrator [I've found that if you imagine all of the narrator's lines being read in the voice of the Moviefone guy, this play is way more entertaining. Trust me.]: Julie is as happy as ever. Her parents are letting her go to gymnastics camp.
Timmy: Juwie is goin' ta natic cap.
Julie: It's gymnastics camp. (Julie flips.)
Trisha: Is she going to flip forever?
J's Mom: I hope not. I think she's just excited.
Trisha: Excited! She's more than excited. She's doing flips and cartwheels and this and that.
Julie: I'm practicing. You can't even hop!
Trisha: I can!
Julie: Let's see. On one foot.
Trisha: (Hops twice and falls over) Oooof!
Julie: (giggling) I told you. (Julie flips)
Timmy: (giggling) Tisa tan't hopa!
Trisha: (getting up) I can too. I wasn't ready. Julie doesn't give anybody time.
Julie: (Julie flips) I do. I'm in a hurry. (Julie cartwheels) I have to practice.
So far we have learned that Julie is somewhat of a beyotch.
Setting: At Emily's house
Narrator: Emily is feeling wonderful. She, too, is going to gymnastics camp.
Marcia: What's she doing now?
Patrick: Shhh. Emmy is toncetating.
E's Mom: She'll probably do a back flip.
Emily: I will. Wait! Now! (Emily back flips.)
E's Dad: Wow! She's getting good.
Patrick: Yep! Wewwy dood! [What's up with my preteen obsession with speech disorders???]
Marcia: O.K.! I agree.
E's Mom: All right! It's time for dinner my little acrobats.
Patrick: Otay! Otay!
Marcia (closing a book): I'm coming.
Emily: Just a second. (Emily cartwheels)
Julie and Emily both appear to have families like mine (imagine that!): two parents, slightly younger sister, and much younger brother. Emily, however, does not seem nearly as irritating as Julie. Yet.
Setting: At the bus stop. Both familys are waiting for the gymnastics bus.
Narrator: Emily and Julie's familys are waiting for the bus. It seems as if it will never come.
Here's where I start the abridging: There's some unimportant bickering between siblings (we are treated to further evidence of Trisha's inability to hop), and then the bus shows up.
Driver: All on! All on! All on! All on! All on the Gymnastics bus! Tickets please. Tickets please. All on! All on!
People on the bus: Ooooh! I gotta window! Don't push. No! Mommy! No! Eeeek! Stop! Don't push. I'll write soon! 'Bye! [Are the people all saying that simultaneously? That's what I like to imagine.]
Emily and Julie then bid their families adieu in an extremely long-winded fashion. Julie's dad calls her "cupcake" (which would be cute if he wasn't talking about Julie), and Trisha and Timmy ominously warn her to be careful.
Setting: At the camp.
Narrator: Everyone is at camp. They are being introduced to each other.
Mary: I'm your counselor. This is Amy. This is Emily. This is Wendy. This is Julie. Finally, this is Stephanie. Say Hi!
They each say hi, Amy doing so "in a shy voice."
Mary: Hi! (chuckling) Well, everyone did say "hi" now didn't they!
5 girls: Yessssss counselor Maaaaryyy!
Mary: Oh, All right! Enough is enough already. Goodness gracious.
Setting: In the gym room
Narrator: All of the girls are doing well. There are mats. There are bars. There is a balance beam.
Wow, the narrator is just useless in this play. Sorry, Mr. Moviefone!
Mary: Near the mat. Oh, I mean in front of the mat. Sorry. There. Good.
I am totally intrigued by the perpetually flustered counselor Mary. What led her to gymnastics camp? And will she ever want to work with children again?
Mary: Now we'll somersault.
Stephanie: Really, now.
Wendy: We already know how to, counselor Mary.
Julie: Yep, we do.
They are so obnoxious. I feel for you, counselor Mary.
Mary: We have to anyway. Orders from the chief, ya know. [Excuse me? What chief? The GYMNASTICS chief?] So, we have to.
Blah blah, they all somersault.
(Everyone walks over to the balance beam.)
Mary: Now can you get across this in 5 steps?
5 girls: Yes counselor Mary, we can.
. . . And then they do. I told you this was riveting!
(Everyone walks over to the bars.)
Mary: Can you all do flips over this?
5 girls: Yes counselor Mary, we can.
Then they all flip over the (parallel?) bars.
Mary: O.K.! Good workout. Time to go.
5 girls: Hurray! (jumping) Hurray!
That so did not deserve a "hurray." And call me crazy, but shouldn't they be, you know, learning some stuff at gymnastics camp?
Setting: In the camp
Narrator: This is a happy time. Mary has a terrific announcement to make. Let's see what it happens to be.
Mary: Okay, girls, stop what you're doing and come here. I have an announcement to make.
5 girls: Oh goody! Counselor Mary has a very, very important announcement to make. Oh goody. Yeaaa! Goodyyy!
Mary: Calm down, nowwww! My announcement is (clears throat) is that this group. Group 12 that is . . . . . . . um . . . . is . . . . .
5 girls: Yesss! Yesss! Tell usss!
Mary: Group 12 is having a gymnastics show, well, like contest. Contest-show! That's it! Well, that's over with.
5 girls: Oh wow! Only usss! Goody Ohhh!
Only them? That's suspiciously convenient. You'd think it would involve, say, the whole camp. Counselor Mary is totally going to head back to the bunk and pop some Xanax.
Setting: In the gym room
Narrator: Everyone is ready. But, Amy refuses to take part. She claims she is too shy. We won't find out why, even if we try.
The rhyming? Uncalled for. And don't I seem to be bizarrely comfortable with my inability to tie up loose ends in my writing? I'm practically flaunting it. But about the shyness: I was crazy shy at this age (like, so shy that I would sometimes cry if I got called on in class and didn't know what to say), so if I had miraculously been flexible enough for gymnastics camp, I might not have wanted any part of their "contest-show" either.
Mary: O.K. You four are ready to roll! Go!
Stephanie: Hello! I'm Stephanie Blake. I will do a front flip, back flip, cartwheel, and somersault.
Crowd: Hey Stephanie! Go girl! Way to go! Knock 'em dead! Yea Steph! Go Stephy!
Stephanie: Thank you! (flip and fall over)
Judge: Out! Next!
Yeesh! That's kinda harsh. Is this a reality show??? I pretty strictly avoid reality shows these days, but I would watch the crap out of Gymnastics Camp!
Crowd: Too bad Stephanie! Toooo baddd!
Julie: Hello, I'm Julie Trink. I'll do a front flip, back flip, cartwheel, and somersault.
Crowd: You can do it. Gooo Julieee!
J's Mom: You can, sweetie, you can!
J's Dad: You got this far, Honey!
Trisha: Flip forever and ever and ever!
Timmy: Ip faeva an' eva an' eva! You tan!
Julie: (bows) Thank you! (front flip) whew!
Julie: Now! (back flip) Ohhh!
Julie: This is simple! (cartwheel) Seee!
I hate Julie.
Crowd: Ohhh! Myyy!
Julie: Easiest of all. (somersault) Welllll!
Julie: Thank you! Thank you!!!!!!!!!
Judge: Thank you, Miss Trink. You are qualified to participate in the finals.
Julie: Yesss! Thank youuuu!
Judge: You're very welcome, Miss Trink. Next!
Wendy: I'm Wendy Stanz. I'll do what they did, okay. Is that okay Mary?
Mary: Yes, fine, dear, go on now. Ohh!
Wendy: Nobody's gonna cheer?
Crowd: Go onnn! You cannn!
Wendy: Thanks! (flips and trips and falls) Ohhh! Nooo!
Judge: Out! Next.
Apparently she cannn't.
Emily: I'm Emily West. I will do a front flip, back flip, cartwheel, and somersault. No cheers, please. I must concentrate. A front flip. (Front flip) Good. (back flip) There. (Cartwheel) Done (somersault) Easy! Thank you, but no cheers, please!
Now I also hate Emily.
Judge: Thank you, Miss West. You are qualified to participate in the finals. Is that the last one?
Mary: Yes, that's all of them. Come girls.
Setting: In the camp. The girls are in bed.
Narrator: The girls are very excited about what happened and what is to happen. Lets take a look.
What that should actually say is:
Narrator: The girls are about to talk some smack. Let's take a look.
Wendy: Hey, Em? Ya know what?
Emily: What do you want Wendy?
Wendy: You were real good . . . . . .
Emily: Thank you, Miss Stanz.
Wendy: But I was better. Much better.
Emily: Oh well, good night.
Wendy: Good night to you to.
Creepy! Do you think Wendy knows Jeff Gillooly? You better watch your back, Emily. And your knees.
Stephanie: Julie, are you up?
Julie: Huh, oh, yeah I'm up.
Stephanie: Good, I think Wendy made a fool of herself . . . .
Stephanie: But you were good. I wasn't.
Julie: Oh, I'm sorry. Good night!
Stephanie: Good night.
Mary: Stop talking and go to sleep.
I love Mary.
Setting: In the gym.
Narrator: It's time for the finals! Mary is excited. Group 12 is excited. The crowd is excited. Even I am excited!
Crowd: Ohhhhh! It'ssss startinggg!
Mary: We're glad to have you here for the finals. Emily!
Emily: Hello my name is Emily West. First I will do a front flip. (flip and fall) Owwww! It hurts.
(Two people rush on stage and take Emily away.)
Judge: We will wait to see what has happened.
Mary: Here's a letter! Here's a letter.
Judge: What does it say?
Mary: Oh, yes, I forgot. It says: Dear Mary, Emily has been hurt badly. She has sprained her ankle.
WHAT? Did that just happen INSTANTANEOUSLY? She JUST fell and then Mary magically had a letter (a LETTER!) explaining what happened! Like, immediately!!!
Judge: That means Julie wins!
Crowd: Yeaaaa Julieeee!
Julie: Thank you.
Judge: Here. (hands her trophy and ribbon)
Julie: Thank you.
(Emily enter with family)
Julie: I cannot except this. It's not fair. (Hands the trophy to Emily) That's fair.
Emily: Thank you.
Julie: Are you all right?
Narrator: That's the story of Gymnastics Camp. Emily and Julie learned about friendship and the ways people do things, how good they really are at gymnastics, and what's fair and what's not. They taught everyone a lesson in caring. The End.
I love this ending. The ways people do things? What the fuck does that even mean? I also like how it was only unfair because Emily hurt herself when she fell; when Wendy fell they were all, "Bwa ha ha, Wendy's an ass." A lesson in caring indeed.
NEXT TIME: The USA Girls "radio show" scripts. Ever wanted dating advice and movie recommendations from nine-year-olds? If so, you are totally in luck!
9 months ago