Monday, March 5, 2012

1976 - Simple Beginnings

Back to the Beginning
Previous Post: 1976 - Coming to America

Today is a very windy day. Great for completing tasks at home. Last night I started a blog and now I can't stop thinking about the times we left Ukraine, our 2 weeks stay in Vienna, 6 months wait in Italy, our arrival to America... It's still very fresh in my memory. Lots and lots of people are telling me to write a book about our family, our "adventures" while immigrating from Ukraine to the States, running our business, my career as a gymnastics coach... It will take a long, long time to bring it all to life. I am not a writer, but I can talk and I have a lot to talk about. I apologize in advance for mistakes, typos, etc

I started teaching women in New Britain YWCA around September 1976. My girls were so young at that time, but we all drove to the YWCA once a week, since I could not drive yet. I had my drivers licence, but was terrified driving, especially on the highway. But one day I did it. Felix stayed home with kids, and I went on my own. I don't know who was scared more: him or me. Drivers on the road honked at me since I was going very slow. But I did it!
We did not have any equipment to teach gymnastics, so I improvised: we used volleyballs instead of rhythmic balls, I bought ribbons in the fabric store and made my own ribbons for my students to use. My English was very limited, but it did not stop me. I demonstrated everything. Around December 1976 one of my students, Jane told me that there is going to be a Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics (yes, that was an official name back then) clinic in Boston. First, I was confused about the word "clinic". It sounded like someone needs medical attention. Jane explained that it's a workshop. I was so excited. When we came to the gym and I heard music, saw girls dancing and using ribbons, balls, hoops, ropes, I felt that I came home! Monika Heilbut was teaching that particular workshop. When I joined the group, she wanted to know who I was and where I came from. That was my initiation into the world of Rhythmic Gymnastics in the USA.
I was writing down words, expressions, terminology. Loved every minute of it!
Maria Bakos, Monika Heilbut, Norma Zabka, Ellem Nyemchik - these were the pioneers of this sport in the USA.
My mother-in-law, Ida was my first coach back in Ukraine. She was one of the top Coaches and Judges in the former Soviet Union.
1960, Kiev, Ukraine ~ Ida Davidovich ongratulating gymnasts after the competition. By Marina Davidovich
Ida was coaching gymnastics in a private club in Detroit, Michigan at that time.
She told her boss, Steve Whitlock about me. And he invited me to come to Detroit and teach clinic for his students around Christmas time. So we went and he offered me a job as a gymnastics instructor.

Next Post: 1976 ~ June 16 Hartford, CT

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! I'm loving this! Keep the posts and pictures coming!!!

    ReplyDelete