Historically, the term ‘Our Girls’ was used to assert dominance over a group of females. It was often used in a benign, affectionate sense, yet still implying that the ‘girls’ were unable to think or make decisions for themselves. In fact, they were not seen as individuals at all.
‘Our Girls’ in Gymnastics Clubs
Currently I sadly note that the concept of ownership of ‘our girls’ is proliferating in gymnastics clubs. It is a blast from the past which our community can well do without, for it strips individual identity away and opens the door to the exploitation of young people.
The Importance of Being an Individual
Each person has a unique collection of physical and mental attributes. This means that any skill will be developed in an individual way. Standard methods of instruction or coaching can be used up to a point, after which the technique has to be refined to assist the gymnast to overcome weaknesses and enhance performance.
A Fast Track Way to Failure
An attitude of seeing ‘our girls’ as a group actively undermines the overall performance of the group. It prevents each gymnast from gaining maximum skills from her own ability.
There often comes a time when a gymnast has to change coach or club in order to keep improving. She will be personally held back if she only sees herself as one of a group of ‘our girls.’
The Customer and Contract
Ultimately, the relationship between a parent, gymnast and club is one of a customer and business. The gymnasts may belong with the club but they never belong to it. Claiming gymnasts are ‘our girls’ is like asserting ownership over them.
This is like claiming a customer in a clothing store is owned by the store once a garment has been purchased, and that customer is not allowed to purchase anything from another store from that time onward.
A contract for services is not the same as a contract for servitude!