The fascination with twists, turns, inversions and speed began innocently enough with roller-coasters.
The obsession grew and sprouted into complex chords, rhythms and patterns with the introduction of the piano.
Then Homewood-Flossmoor's Andray Reynolds joined the gymnastics team.
A career in architectural engineering awaits the senior, but before he heads to North Carolina A&T State University on a full academic scholarship, he'll design two final gymnastics performances and hope they are well-constructed enough to give him a state medal.
Senior teammates Corey Bell and Karl Allen are also headed to this weekend's state finals at Lincoln-Way East, where each of them will try to be H-F's first individual state champ in the sport since 1998.
"I'm just ecstatic," Reynolds said. "I'm really excited."
Reynolds joined the team as a freshman, with his gymnast brother, then a freshman in college, urging Andray to continue his legacy. At the first few workouts his freshman year, Reynolds had the upper-body strength to do maybe eight or nine dips in a row. Now he can do more than 50 straight.
"I just went to one practice and found it to be fun and exciting," he said. "I was drawn to the uniqueness. The type of determination that goes into it in practice, you see you have to be really determined and go through it a lot, learning lessons."
Reynolds takes lessons in guitar and plays jam sessions with friends.
He taught himself the piano and drums and used to play trombone in the school band. He writes music on the side and wants to have some published.
His true loves are architecture and engineering, so he sought a school that offered the combination as a major.
"Ever since I was 10 years old, I've enjoyed designing things and drawing," Reynolds said. "I want to create elements to better society and stuff. I like aesthetics and also practical use.
"I look at aspects of physics in things. When I was looking into gymnastics, I was able to engineer routines and able to consider the physics part of it."
If Reynolds' kinetic energy could rise to the level of his zeal for life, he'd have a chance to medal at state. He scored 7.4 on still rings and 7.4 on the horizontal bars to earn at-large berths in the state finals.
"Andray is one of the of the best human beings I've ever worked with," H-F coach Peter Kallend said. "He's a great all-around kid and works really, really hard to achieve what he has. I can't think of a better way for him to end his career than by qualifying for state in honestly two of the events that are hardest to get good at."
The best bet to break H-F's championship drought is a boy who wasn't on the team two years ago. Bell was injured throughout last season, his first since moving from District 215 and Thornton to H-F.
Bell had no previous involvement in formal gymnastics, but he leaped and bounded on the mats and trampolines with the Jessie White Tumblers organization from ages 10 to 12. He performed at Bulls, Bears and even White Sox games in Chicago.
"I wish I was still with them when they performed for President Obama," Bell said. "Tumbling taught me something, but I had to increase in difficulty. This year I've progressed every meet.
"This weekend I'm going to go down, have fun, and if I win I'll be extremely happy."
With a sectional score of 9.75 in the floor exercise, Bell is seeded third in the event behind a pair of 9.9s. His vault score of 9.2 is 10th entering state.
"Being a relative unknown in the sport and having him explode the way he has this season, it would be a great end to his storyline," Kallend said. "He came from a place where they didn't have much in the way of what he was interested in. Coming to an environment like this and having him feel like he belongs in the community, it seems like a very fitting end."
Bell is focused on a state title. He ate well and increased his intensity in practice all week to prepare himself.
"He's one of those kids where you're like, ‘Where were your two years ago?'" Kallend said. "He's been a real pleasure to work with, and the rest of the team gets inspired by what they see him do."
Allen's main sport is cheerleading, and he travels the country with his club team for competitions. The senior will compete in the vault this weekend after matching Bell's 9.2 at the sectional.
"He's another one of our very hard-working kids, although he can be pretty goofy at times," Kallend said. "This has been an exceptional group of kids. They've been really hard-working the whole time that they've been here. It's the best group I've had in five years as a head coach."