Gym

The Old And The New

So… Here it is. Before I show everybody the new gym, I thought it would be more appropriate to show everybody the place that we have been in for the past five years.

And now… the new gym. It isn’t totally complete. I didn’t take pictures of the preschool area or the parent area, but I will. I need to install three more low rails and do some more maneuvering of equipment. It will be completely and totally finished very soon.

I want to say thank you to a lot of people. Thank you to the people in the gymnastics community in the state, region, and nation that have helped me to grow and develop as a coach. There are tons of you and I hope that all of you know who you are. ¬†Thanks to all of the parents and athletes. Without you all none of this would be possible. Thanks to all of my co-workers. I can’t do this alone and I know that. Thank you to my wife for not killing me over the years, and especially this week. Love you! Also… Thanks to everybody that has helped with this project. From the backers that put up the money for it to the people who have cleaned, moved, and helped the gym for the past six months.

Without all of you, this gym wouldn’t be possible. So thank you to everybody involved, near and far. All of you are greatly appreciated.

What’s New

Well… It’s been a long time. I haven’t been on here for several reasons. I was just down in Charlotte, North Carolina again last weekend for the camp at International Gymnastics and I had some good conversations with people down there that told me they still read my blog. I was surprised at that because I see the numbers, but it was encouraging to hear and made me want to start getting more information out. I also confessed to some people that I felt like nothing I did on here would ever be as important or relevant as what I was able to do in the wake of Andrea’s accident. Seventeen-thousand people viewed that blog post in about a week, which was incredible for me and for her friends and family. Not that I want to one-up that, but it just doesn’t feel as important.

I have also had my fair share of struggles recently. We have two level tens, two level nines, and a level eight boy. I have been working with several kids in the afternoons, which has kept me really busy. This is my first experience with having athletes at this level in my own gym and there has been some learning I have had to do. I have started to do TOPs with my kids and that has me pretty excited. My level eight boy finished third at Future Stars Regionals with a bad showing, but still qualified to Nationals in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He did well there, but ended up finishing just barely in the bottom half of his age group. On top of all of this… I have been devoting almost all of my free time to golfing. I have gotten to the point where I can shoot even par or several over just about every time I go play. The other big thing that has kept me busy is the best news of all. We purchased the building, property, and equipment from the other gym in town and we are in the process of renovating it to be a world class facility. It won’t be huge, but it will be laid out perfectly with pits and resi mats for every event, boys and girls. We will also have a trampoline into a pit and a resi mat, which I am excited about. I will hopefully get to flip again like I use to!

Here is a little bit of what we have been doing…

I haven’t done a very good job of videoing everything that I want to. The two nines have been doing well and so has my other ten after being out of the gym for another sport. The boy has been working on, and getting, a bunch of skills that will stick with him for the rest of his career. Tippelts, Yamawaki, Diamadov, Stutz, ect. It is an exciting time for me and for my gym. We have several youngsters that I am excited about and all of the kids have been working hard for the season. I have also begun to work every week with all of the coaches in the gym to share my knowledge and experience with them and try to make them better at what they do. We are going to continue to meet every week to try and make SOGA the best facility for gymnastics, tumbling, and cheerleading that it can possibly be.

I mentioned before that I was in North Carolina again… The camp was amazing. They added Alex Bard, a Canadian National Team coach and repeated Olympic coach, to the roster of great coaches this year. I met Alex several years ago at Woodward and he is amazing. Camp was great for all the kids and the coaches and I look forward to going back next year. The week before I was in Cincinnati at Gym Nation to work the Region Five Forward Progress camp. That was also great. The region looks strong and ready to do great things. It was wonderful to be able to work a high level camp with so many friends and I learned a lot from them while I was there. I am finally home for a couple weeks and then I get to go back down to the TOPs A camp at the Karolyi Ranch.

So… I am posting this and then I am going to work on bar changes and the tap swing in every flip, possibly some other posts. I know I have a lot to learn and I am extremely far from the best coach around, but I want to share what knowledge and experience I have with everybody. So… here goes. I guess since it is cold I have time to devote to this instead of golf.

Sunrise

I woke up this morning angry, frustrated, and disappointed. These emotions quickly were replaced with confusion… I forgot about the time change. After I realized that my smartphone was smarter than me, I went back to being frustrated and exhausted. Yesterday was tough, to say the least… And six in the morning has never agreed with me.

I got ready and took off in my car. I was headed to a meet in the pitch black darkness of the morning. I continued to brood and steam as I drove for the next forty-five minutes… And then… I looked in my mirror.

I saw no headlights, no darkness, no problems, no frustration. I saw the beginning of the sun rising. I began to think about how beautiful it was. Quickly all of my emotions changed. My thoughts did as well.

I realized that this could very possible be the last time that I ever get to see the beauty that is a sun rise. I realized that every day is another chance to get it right, to get better. Every day is another chance to live beautifully. I remembered that we aren’t promised anything in this life and to appreciate everything you have and make the best of every opportunity and situation.

It is amazing how something so simple can change your attitude completely. I just wanted to share this experience with any potential readers.

More Memories

I wanted to share this video on my blog for everybody to see.

This was the routine that earned her a state title on bars. By no means was it perfect, but it helped the team win bars and helped them take second overall. I can’t remember ever being more proud of her than this day. I remember the feeling when she landed her flyaway. At the time, I choked back the emotions as each kid successfully landed. I was so proud of her and those girls for everything they did all year. I told Andrea’s mother that after I watched this video it brought all the memories back to me. All of the work we did together to get to this point.

The really sad realization that hit me at some point last night was that this was the last routine she ever competed. We finished on bars on this day. That was her last salute, the last high five that I gave her after a competition routine, and the last time she got to experience what she loved to do so much. There were many more high fives and memories in the gym and at camp after this, but this was the last time in competition. Around twelve hours before she was set to compete her first level seven routines, she was involved in the accident that took her from us all.

I am going to keep trying to acquire videos of her. I almost have enough pictures to put another montage together. To be honest… It has helped me to have the outlets that I have. The Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… I have been able to memorialize Andrea for myself and everybody else and it makes me feel so much better to be able to do that.