Last weekend I had my first gymnastics meet in 20 years.
To say my heart is full would be an understatement.
Gymnastics was my first love when I was 6 years old, and when I quit at the age of 14 I figured that was it.
I told myself that “people don’t get to do this after high school without a college scholarship, so I guess I’ll just move on to cheerleading and other sports”.
But turns out I was wrong and I’m so damn happy about it!
So here’s the story…
About 6 months ago, a friend sent me an Instagram post of an obviously older-than-average gentleman doing a high bar routine in a leotard at a meet.
It was made by the NAIGC Instagram account, which stands for the “National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs”.
I remember club gymnastics being a thing back when I graduated high school, but you had to be a student at a college that already had a club program. That was like 15 years ago.
Fast forward to 2020, and somewhere along the way they started an “Alumni” or “Open” program, where anyone who loves gymnastics and wants to compete can just sign themselves up and do their thing!
I think the best way to help out is to leave you with some of the basic FAQs from the NAIGC website:
WHO CAN JOIN THE NAIGC?
NAIGC Club membership is open to any gymnastics club with college-aged or adult participants. Individual membership is open to anyone with an interest in collegiate club gymnastics.
I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH A SCHOOL. CAN I STILL COMPETE?
As long as you have not been suspended by the NAIGC, you can compete at any NAIGC meet as an Independent Student Athlete (if they are a full time student) or else as an Independent Community Athlete. Clubs should allow these athletes to compete at their meets.
WHAT SKILL LEVELS SHOULD I EXPECT?
There is an enormous range of skills both within the league and within the clubs themselves. Some clubs are former varsity teams which just got cut, while others are clubs that are just starting and trying to get their feet wet. As for the individuals, some have never done gymnastics before while others have been doing it their entire lives, even training and competing at an elite level. Rules and level requirements for NAIGC sanctioned meets are at the men’s rules, women’s rules and T&T rules webpages.
WHAT DO I DO IF I'M NOT AFFILIATED WITH AN NAIGC CLUB?
Historically, anyone not affiliated with an existing club competed as part of the NAIGC Alumni Club, regardless of their alumni status. This Alumni club was created as a club for people that do not meet the membership requirements for other clubs. The majority of members competed in the NAIGC during college, but not all.
Due to growing numbers of independent athletes, we have recently (Fall 2022) changed our policies. Any full-time student not affiliated with an NAIGC club can compete as an "Independent Student Athlete". Any other member not affiliated with an NAIGC club can compete as an "Independent Community Athlete". These athletes cannot compete for a team score. Independent athletes that wish to compete as a team (such as those formerly competing from the NAIGC Alumni Club), are welcome to start a new club by following the instructions here. These clubs only need to compete or train together once per year, which includes Nationals.
Unaffiliated members may also join the NAIGC Alumni group on Facebook – it is the best way to stay up to date. If you would like to attend a meet, but do not think other unaffiliated members are going, just email the host club telling them you would like to register. You will need to pay individual entry fees and arrange your own travel and lodging. If you need to register online, follow the instructions on the Join Now page.
So if you’ve EVER wanted to do gymnastics, now’s the time!
No experience needed, different levels to pick from, and a load of meets around the country.
Happy flipping, people 🙂
(PS - As you can probably tell, I have only found out how to compete in adult gymnastics here in the USA. But I’ll keep my eyes peeled for info on how to compete in other countries and will let you know here on the blog when I do 🤸🏼♀️)