Gary and Sherri Johnson: “Fans of the Sport” Award

The problems started after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a lot of children’s gymnastic schools closed. Coaches earned a pittance, while those training the new generations weren’t specialists, but rather fans of the sport, so of course the end product suffered,” says Aleksandrov.

I was struck by this quote when I first read it.  I just thought it was pretty awesome concept to think that Russian Gymnastics might have been kept afloat by fans.  Not that the “specialists” Aleksandrov mentions weren’t fans and not that the fans he talks about didn’t have plenty of coaching knowledge.  I’m sure they did and weren’t simply Joe Fanbois off the street, coming to save the day.

Anyway, Gary and Sherri Johnson’s town got its own high school for the first time in 20 years.  Sherri, who had coached high school gymnastics before, decided to start a high school gymnastics team.  The team practices in swanky digs on the Johnson’s farm.  The team has already had a meet and there were lots of spectators to cheer them on.

I 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 could support a high school team by providing a coach and practice time.  They wouldn’t even have to do it for free.  It could be a pay to play club sport.  So, high school kids have the opportunity to compete in gymnastics on decent equipment with good coaches and the club doesn’t lose money trying to make this happen.  Everybody wins.

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