~Dance it, Speak it, Poet~

By Jan Drake Bakke

History of a Gymnast Part 7--May 2018 Column Gaylife Newsletter by "Dance it, Speak it, Poet" by Jan Drake Bakke

As Love Comes By Her Fast--Gymnastics Love"


A child still

But love comes by her fast

A kid, yet a woman forming

Can that relationship last?


She spreading her teenaged wings

Wanting to fly

Was it too soon?

It wasn't just about a guy!


Love came and went

A learning experience

For a young girl in her past

Only to be challenged over and over

Again and again in her future

As love comes by her fast!!


"We Were On Fire"

Give me a back handspring!

Give me a whip back!

Tell me to go faster!

We were tumblin on the fast track!


Did you see me smilin?

I was blushing too

I want to be a pretty gymnast

I wanted to kiss you!


We were fast down the mats

We were so young

But who knew?

Were we ready for dating?

We were all kissing a few!


Give me an ariel!

Give me a front handspring front tuck!

Tell me to go higher!

We were teenage gymnasts

Whenever anyone got to see us

They were in good luck

We were on fire!


"Contortion Delight"

Never ending stretches of imagination

Graceful in dark and light

Touching the heart of one's

hyper extended emotions

Allowing limberness to unbend

One's tight mind

While reaching into new poses

of contortion delight! 

I had mentioned in my last column in "History of a Gymnast Part 6" about me dating my gymnastic's coach who was twice my age when I was age fifteen. Well, I did date him and he was my boyfriend for a little while but it really was not a scandal as such. In fact, it was very innocent and it turned out well for me. I think for him too really. I met him at another gym here in Las Vegas. My best  gymnastics friend Jody and best friend at the time was already starting to teach gymnastics and swimming at this very age. She was working for the association over at this gym I beleive. Or about to. She told me about a new coach who was teaching over there. I should come in and work out. Actually, he was just known all over by everyone that a new coach was in town training gymnasts. So of course I checked it out. I was fifteen years old and was not working with my original coach anymore. That is a long story. I will share later. I liked what this new coach was doing. He had some of his best girls with him and they were fabulous gymnasts. We were all so impressed. They could do many back handsprings down the mat so quickly and effortlessly. So could Jody and I and the other gymnast who was working with us from our old team.  They did whip backs though with their back handsprings.  That is very exciting to watch and it was very advanced.  We did not do those. However, we did learn to do them. They were scary. LOL!  These gymnasts specialized in tumbling. That was what they mostly competed in and they also did trampoline. I was not a trampoline expert at all. The tumbling though I was pretty good at and so were my teammates who were working out with this new coach and his girls. We did excell. It was very exciting. So to make a longer story shorter I started to date the coach. Or he wanted to date me. We did. It was fine. No big deal. The big deal was he wanted to take me and another girl on my old team to Geneva, Ohio to be on his team. To compete with them and try to make the Olympic team.  My parents went along with it even though my mother was not really for it. I was having a very sweet relationship with this coach and it was not at all what it could of been. It was very platonic in kissing ways. He did come over to see me at my job I had at the Aladdin Hotel as I worked as a Bus Girl there and earned my own money to go to Ohio and to pay my rent also. I was in tenth grade. One of my coworkers who was twenty one years old was so disturbed by him and so worried about me going off with him. Now as I look back she had every right to be. I was lucky she cared enough. She did have a heart to heart talk with me too.  I reassured her all was well. 

This coach talked to my parents and talked them into this whole plan one night. My Dad was not going to say no since I wanted to go so badly. He knew that the sound of "Olympics" was just in my  vocabulary totally. So he got it. He understood me so well. Then I also could pay for it too. What could they say? I went. Nothing ever went far with my coach and I as far as a love relationship.  In other words we did not "go all the way" in anything. He was a good friend and we did see each other after school. At first we lived with him but the school where he taught had us move out very soon after we got there. It was not going to look right for  him or the community to have two underaged girls living in his house.  We moved in with one of the gymnasts and her aunt. It was perfect. We were also greeted right off the plane as soon as we arrived. it was amazing! People in town came to greet us. We had been publicized in their newspaper as well.  This was a big deal.  Two Las Vegas gymnasts,  Olympic hopefuls to join the gymnastics team there. It was big news for a small town of about 6,000 people. Geneva on the lake. In Ohio. They were just  awesome people. So kind and so friendly. Just like the coach as we met him here in Las Vegas. Endearing small town charm and  generous people as well. I was comfortable. All the way around. My Dad was from a small town and I recognized the charm and warmth from the Genevians. I am glad I went and got to experience another part of the country and also another gymnastics team.  There was a parade the next day and we were asked to perform in it with the team.   It was awesome!! I remember tumbling down the street and also doing moves on the mini tramp as it was going along the street too. That was a blast and we got so many claps and awes for that. I was skilled at the mini tramp tumbling!! We made a very good impression right away and that was good for us. Especially in school. We were accepted well. I also joined the quoir and loved singing in it too. We did have to coach part of the time too in our work outs though on the team. That was a little intense. All the elite gymnasts had to coach and spot in the gym practices. That is what we did on my team growing up here in Las Vegas. Well, we were very experienced and trained so we knew what to tell the beginners. We could show them too. So I was teaching again. I enjoyed it. This time away from home on another gymnastics team. At age fifteen. Kind of cool. Good for a resume. LOL!

My Geneva, Ohio  gymnastics coach wanted to wait until I was sixteen years old to continue a relationship with me. By the time I turned  sixteen I was over him. LOL!! He was very nice and gave me a sweet sixteen heart necklace. I loved it and still have it. I just was not in love with him anymore. Oh dear! I do think I hurt his feelings a little. He had so many girls into him already though.  I had a crush on another gymnastics coach way prior to this one. Not my coach I trained with for many years. He was more like a father to me. The one on the Scats Team I did have a crush on. I was only ten and then thirteen years old. I saw him in those years a few times. Nothing ever happened between us.  He helped to get the ball rolling for me to join their team though. He asked the head coaches if I could join and they passed it. Then the head coach asked my parents to have me move to Lakewood/Long Beach, CA. I was asked to be on their team and to move in with a family from the team. That never happened. I was too young at the time. My mother felt. It was a very spectacular and honorable request though. One I will always remember and keep in my heart forever. I loved that coach who did that for me. I know he had feelings for me.  It just was happening with  the gymnasts and some coaches. It just was. Attraction and love for some. Very normal. We had a couple on our team here in Las Vegas on the Fittettes team who did get married. The coach and his best gymnast. I met her when she was only 12 years old. They were dating then. He was twice her age as well. They married when she was only fourteen years old. So you see it was done like that with gymnasts. We just were ready I guess to have relationships. I do not think I was ready for marriage though. She did become an Olympian and they were from Sparks , Nevada. They were our friends and I did compete with her and against her. She was amazing. Her coach used to talk to my Dad and give him tips. He told him to not over do me and my work outs. That I needed rest too. He was so right. I did get sick for a period of time of about a month one year. I had to stay home from school as well and just rest. It was the epstein barre as I think back. We didn't know what it was back then. I came out of it well though and started right back again. 

Anyway, the time in Geneva, Ohio was lovely and also sad too. My companion the other gymnast and I started to have a hard time with it all and we missed home. I was gaining weight. That was treacherous for me. It was also too cold and so snowy there. I wanted to get back to a warmer place. I loved my new friends and roommates and  the team but it was time to go.  My coach was 33 years old and I was not going to be his partner. I think he wanted a partner for coaching and a wife too. I don't blame him. It just wasn't going to be me for this.  I am appreciative he wanted that possibly with me. He knew I was a responsible person and had a lot of discipline. I started to date a boy in school before I left. I really liked him. He gave me rides on his motor cycle. It was fun! I still needed to date others my age first before I was going to take on a team and a mate twice my age. I will always remember that Geneva coach. He is in my heart forever. I do  think of him and appreciate him. He was kind to me.

  Here are some more poems for the month of May in 2018. Happy Spring! Summer is on the horizon!

"A Pack of Sunflowers"

I was mobbed by a pack of sunflowers

They wouldn't let me go

Until I smelled their smilez!

Then I became mellow yellow

For dayz and dayz!

"A Rainbow"

I am wild and free

Let the colors carry me

Simple and alive

For my soul to see!

A rainbow told me

To breathe its colors

So I could open my heart

And be free!

"I Open My Hands"

I open my hands

To freedom

Letting go of needing approval

Loving myself and others

My life is full!


I open my hands

To freedom

Without rejection

Not living for acceptance

But with unconditional affection!


"Majestic Butterfly"

We can agree to disagree

And try to love more peacefully

With beauty and wonder

Kindness and surrender

With calm and elation

It is a sweet sensation

Seeing the best in ourselves and others

Always we can try

Then take a trip on the back

Of a Majestic Butterfly!



Jealousy is a killer

Such a pest

Don't allow it to be part of you 

Or near you

Shake it off

Send it on its way

An unwelcomed guest!....


"Underneath the Starz"

Az I lie awake underneath the starz

My broken heart is reminded of the muzic we gave each other

Thoz passionate dayz

Drinking each otherz wordz

I loved his colorz of every hue(blue)

He waz my brother

The wind breezez thru my being

And I look back to the black in the sky

The universe is beckoning me to live here 


I ponder this and ask why?

Arch Angel Michael'z sword

iz penetrating his grace upon he and I

There iz no more wicked

There are no more reazonz for a lie

I am touched by the sword now

and I will emerse myself in water

Drenched az I cry!


"If the Universe Were Mine"

If the universe were mine

I'd share it all with you

I'd give you the sun

And hold you warm and safe

In all you do!


I'd take the stars

From the sky

And make a necklace of love and 

light forever

For you and I!


I'd take the animals

And make them all free

So we could ride on the wings of a bluebird

The fins of a dolphin

So joyously!


If the universe were mine

I'd make the meadows and 

turn them into multi colors

of rainbow jubilee

So we could run, skip, dance

and sing in them anytime we wanted to

We are free!


I'd take a melody from a bird

And wrap it up in a chocolate rainbow

And send it to you for your morning coffee

For you to listen and hum to

of our love of you and me

That you will

Always remember

And always know


If the universe were mine

I'd send you angels

Everyday to fly you

Through the celestial spheres

So you could jump thru clouds

and dance on stars

So you'd always have good days

And always less tears!!


"We Hold"

Our hands hold

each other's light

So subtlely

So powerfully

Take care of each hand

We hold


As the connection


in trust

in strength

in peace

and in miracles!


"Because I'm With You"(A take off from Avril's song "I'm With You")

Because I want you

And I need you

And you need me too

Because I'm with you!...


"The Journey"

A journey inward

To the center of this dream

When do I wake up?

I just want to scream!

(screaming can be healthy)


"Kindness is Fancy Free"

The best days come in yellow

When life ould be easy and fun

No worries and kindness everywhere

Feeling fancy free in a new dress

All in one!


"In Rays of Gold

If I were I

I would be a flower

I would salute the sun

And sing a song

As I bloomed

In rays of gold!


I am a wildflower

That longs for its songs to kiss

the new day

of peace

pf passion

A flower that scents never grow old!....

Happy May of 2018

Love, Jan


Email Keystonealliancegaylifenewsletter@hotmail.com with any comments.