I wish I could adequately describe the sense of camaraderie and spirit that encompassed my collegiate gymnastics experience. I’ve not since been part of a group that has the same collective drive towards a common goal or focuses on the whole instead of the success of the individual. Oh it wasn’t perfect, but there’s something about a team, made up of members on the precipice of independence and adulthood, that cheer for each other until their voices are raspy, that see each others’ struggles in the gym and respond with encouragement, that walk home together after a long day of class and practice only to start the night’s homework. I don’t believe it can be replicated in any other time of life.
That’s why I’m an avid college gymnastics fan.
I’ve recently had the chance to photograph the George Washington University gymnastics team. I attended a practice and was in awe of their focus and efficiency. Each skill, each turn on an apparatus was purposeful. You could sense their dedication to pursue precision. Their conditioning would make the fittest adults cringe.
And to watch that team hit routines at their home meet, bump fists to instill confidence in one another, and jump in pure excitement for one another, was a genuine treat. I found myself daydreaming of being a teammate again.
My goal was to capture the cheers and concentration, the strength and dedication, and the friendship of this team. It’s a start, and I’ll keep trying.