Tuesday, February 28, 2017: 7:27 am
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Time to Tumble

Bloomington woman celebrates 50 years with a back walkover

Sore muscles are nothing new for Peggy Maschino. She does yoga and pilates and lives an active life. But the soreness she experienced after her first gymnastics class was like no other.

The endless cartwheels she remembered doing in her backyard as a kid didn’t leave her tired and out of breath. Twenty minutes into gymnastics at the Bloomington YMCA, Maschino was spent. The thought crossed her mind that maybe she should just stick with yoga.

She might have been ready to go home and soak those muscles, but she wasn’t ready to give up.

“There’s something about doing the perfect handstand that makes you try harder,” she said. “It occurred to me I hadn’t tried hard for that perfect yoga pose.”

Maschino of Bloomington will turn 50 in October. The approaching milestone birthday, coupled with watching her 6-year-old daughter tumble in her gymnastics class, gave her the courage and motivation to get serious about learning a skill that had eluded her as a kid.

“As a child, I did cartwheels and back bends in the yard but I had never had any gymnastics lessons,” she said in an email. “I always wanted to take lessons and I love watching gymnastics.”

When the YMCA opened a gymnastics class for adults (no tumbling background necessary), Maschino thought, “Why not?”

She wasn’t prepared for how sore she would be, or that it would be a few weeks into the session before the soreness of each class only lasted a day or two, instead of an entire week.

By the time Maschino turns 50, she hopes to master the back walkover, something she hasn’t done since her 20s. And if she can perform a couple of skills on the balance beam, then so much the better. While she masters new skills, she’s accomplishing two fitness goals—improving flexibility and core strength.

With each class her confidence grows. She admits the experience was “completely overwhelming” the first few weeks. Not only was her body a tangle of sore muscles, but she doubted how she could keep up in a class of mostly 20-somethings who had all done gymnastics in high school.

“That is intimidating. They have a muscle memory I don’t have,” she said.

So she has learned to celebrate her accomplishments.

“It’s a total thrill for me if there is one thing I can do and some other person isn’t ready for it,” she said.

Maschino, who is associate director of the business office for the Indiana University Physical Plant, credits the instructors with making everyone feel welcome in the class.

“They respect my limits while at the same time pushing me beyond my comfort zone,” she said.

And what does her daughter think of her learning gymnastics?

“She says it’s good,” said Maschino. “She always wants to know what I did in class. It’s nice she can celebrate with me when I tell her what I’m working on.”

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