inspired by this video from communist China:


All their flipping has flopped,
So their stance has flip-flopped
__To a more relaxed focus on fun.
“It’s a balanced approach,”
Beams the school’s head coach
__As she stands on the line she’s been spun.
She would nail the routine
Of a flexible dean
__If she’d taken it into account
That the camera zooms out
And then swivels about,
__So her smile has a wobbly dismount.
For these angles expose
A laborious pose
__That gives backbends a bogus backdrop.
Small boys sit on their peers
And then push them to tears—
__A perpetual stretch to the top.





Bethany Mootsey is a stay-at-home mom and foster mom living in Clearwater, Florida. She is a Covenant College graduate with publications in “Church Educator.”

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6 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    Love it, and I love “As she stands on the line she’s been spun.” – a phrase that truly resonates.

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    An important message. Thanks.
    Somewhere in mainland China there must be something that’s genuine, not evil, and not feeling the pressure/persecution of the CCP.

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Red China (as was also the case with Nazi Germany) is obsessed with international prestige and honors. The more games they win, the more medals their teams bring home, the more praise from foreigners they gather — all of it is fodder for the CCP’s propaganda machine. The same was true of the old Soviet Union with chess — pressure on their champion players to win tournaments was frighteningly brutal.

    So these little Chinese kids are whipped into shape in order that a mere one percent of them may become Olympic Team members. Ah, the blessings of totalitarianism.

    • Margaret Coats

      Fast forward to the one percent who make a national team. I recall reading the story of a world champion Chinese athlete. At about age 20, he fell in love with the number three female Chinese athlete in his sport. She was cut from the team and he never saw her again, because it was important for him to focus solely on his game, and remain world champion for as long as possible. Their personal happiness and her athletic career were sacrificed. He defected to the West, back in the days when that was more likely to be a successful escape.

  4. Brian Yapko

    Bethany, I really like this poem. The sing-song quality of the meter and the tongue-twisting words contrast sharply (and therefore highlight) the awfulness of the subject matter — little children who are basically abused into becoming products to sell Chinese prestige. The irony is painful… which is good. You’ve nailed it.

  5. Bethany Mootsey

    Thank you all for the thoughtful comments! My heart breaks for these children, and the photo Evan chose says it all. I just read this week that China’s quest for gold medals has channeled many children into unpopular sports with multiple categories (eg weightlifting). Even if they win, their futures are uncertain, as they can’t get big endorsements like the gymnasts.


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