High School Gymnastics Needs Support

I don’t follow Men’s gymnastics.  I’m posting this story because I think these guys were done wrong and that sucks.

Over the objections of area coaches, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association decided last week to end recognized competition among the handful of high schools that have boys’ gymnastics teams. The seven schools with all-boys’ gymnastics programs are Andover, Attleboro, Braintree, Burlington, Lowell, Newton North, and Newton South.

They can still compete as club.  Teams like sailing, rowing, riflery, rugby, and fencing already do.  I just wonder why cut recognition if it didn’t cost the MIAA anything to recognize them.   The official reason seems lame as hell.

Wetzel said that MIAA officials opted to drop boys’ gymnastics because the National Federation of State High School Associations (better known as NFHS) announced that it would no longer be writing national rules for boys’ gymnastics, according to Wetzel.

In April 2012 the NFHS made that “difficult” decision due to declining participation in boys’ gymnastics, according to NFHS spokeswoman Becky Oakes. “The number of states that sanction boys’ gymnastics had dropped down to a point where it was no longer practical that we were writing a national set of rules for the sport,” said Oakes. “We were down to three states that really recognize boys’ gymnastics.”

I don’t get that?  How much do the rules change every year that writing the rules is such a chore?

Paul Wetzel, MIAA spokesmoron had some stupid shit to say:

“It’s a girls’ sport,” said Wetzel, referring to the lopsided participation rates. “When was the last time you watched boys’ gymnastics? They don’t get on the cover of the Wheaties box. They don’t get the endorsements.”

What?  I really wasn’t aware of too many high school gymnasts in any sport getting on the Wheaties box and raking in the endorsements.  That’s not what high school sports is about.

I think private gymnastics clubs really need to step up to the plate and work together to get high school gymnastics swinging again for boys and girls.  Even if the gymnastics team has to be club only.  Increased participation would make the sport more popular as a whole.  That’s what we want, don’t we? Why can’t private clubs sponsor gymnastics teams for their local high schools and colleges?  Don’t just take the people that are switching over from private club competition.  Remember that easy gymnastics is gymnastics too!

Gymnastics is a hard sport.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is coaches who think only in terms of roundoff, backhandspring, etc.  The older beginner shows up and what do they get?  A big fat, “Ummmm, try cheer.”  What they should get is a “Welcome aboard.  Here’s your new routine with skills from like 1935.  Go TEAM!!”  Take that beginner and teach him a tuck jump and cartwheel.  Send him on out there to earn his 4.265 or whatever. Open up the sport to more people  so gymnastics participation can start growing instead of continuing to shrink.

Participation in sports like basketball or baseball or whatever is high so the High school coach can afford to take only those who know how to play.  Gymnastics really doesn’t have that luxury.  Please coaches, when it comes time for kids to sign up for High school gymnastics make sure your flyer says, “Beginners Welcome” and have some easy, level 1 routines ready for those who want to participate but don’t have any experience.  Use your imagination.  Remember, standing on toe with free leg extended was a coded skill once upon a time.


One Response to “High School Gymnastics Needs Support”

  1. Gary and Sherri Johnson: “Fans of the Sport” Award « Shergymrag Says:

    […] think it’s awesome how the Johnson’s are supporting high school gymnastics and I think it would be great if other clubs started following their lead.  I think most clubs […]

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