Jan. 16, 2007
The Spartan gymnastics season has begun, and with a bang!!! Our first home meet and season opener was this past Friday night and the team had a great beginning!
As a coach and a student of life, I try to learn a valuable lesson that can help us down the road. The one thing that I learned is that our team may be young, but they have a tremendous amount of heart and determination, especially after Friday night. That determination was evident from our first competitor to our last. The first competitor was a freshman and the last was a freshman.
Beyond the results, there are an enormous amount of things that go on behind the scenes. In preparing for this first meet, Kathie (Klages), Katie (Teft) and I found ourselves in a situation where there were a few lessons that needed to be learned by this team. Trust. Trust is a valuable component of any team and the members that make up that team. If you don't have trust in yourself, how can your teammates trust you to go out and compete for them? This team lacked a little of the trust and confidence in each other the week prior to our first meet. After several hours of practice on Saturday, the trust was starting to be established. A few things the team learned: "your job doesn't change no matter when you go in the lineup" and "don't be afraid to fall." The first quote came from a senior and the second quote came from a freshman. Wisdom from those that have been here, and wisdom from those that have just arrived.
So walking into the meet on Friday night, the coaches hoped that the team was prepared to remember those two quotes. Do your job and don't be afraid to fall. That is what we told them. Along with, to have fun!
The energy was great and the team competed with the attitude that they had a job to accomplish and they were not afraid to fall. They competed with confidence and poise and although there were a few bumps in the road, we will learn from our mistakes and continue on the journey.
The first three events showed exactly the amount of talent that this team possess. On vault we started with a freshman who led the charge and stuck (9.825). The team built upon that start and carried it through for a 48.9. Five out of 6 hit vaults. The team went on to uneven bars and hit routine-after-routine, stuck dismount-after-dismount and began to trust and have confidence in one another as well as themselves. The team scored the third highest team score in Spartan history, 49.325. Six-for-six hit routines. Then on to beam, the event that can make or break a team. The confidence carried over and the team went out and made it through their routines to come up with a 48.9 team score. Six-for-six hit routines. Then we hit the bump in the road, floor! Typically a good event for the Spartans, proved to be the learning event of the evening. With two solid routines that we as coaches would consider "hits," one routine that was a "made" routine and three routines that were "misses" - interpretation - routines with falls, we had just counted 1.3 in deductions. Three out of six hit routines. Confidence? Yes, the team still had that confidence that they showed on the first three events, but the lack of maturity showed with this very young team. A lesson to be learned, trust in yourself and others will trust in you. Period. So, I said that the first routine and the last routine were hits, and that freshmen were the ones to hit. So, the maturity is in the eye of the beholder. We will mature and grow quickly from this experience and develop into a great team not just a good team. I am proud to be a coach for this team and for MSU.
On Monday following the competition, the national rankings came out with MSU Gymnastics finding its name in quite a few areas.
Rankings at this point of the season is more of a pat on the back than anything, but when you are in the top ten you have to feel some sort of pride in yourself. We know that the season is long and that there will be a lot of bumps in the road, but once the journey begins there is no looking back, but only looking forward.
Until next time, let the journey continue…
Go Green, Go White, Go Spartans
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