Gym Talk: Juniors
Saturday, April 14, 2012

Since we had a free day today, the team decided to take a trip to see the Big Apple. We took the train into the city. First stop was the Staten Island ferry to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty. After the ferry ride, some of the team went to Canal Street and some of the team went to Wall Street. We saw the bull on Wall Street and the Occupy Wall Street movement. I guess a protestor got out of hand because we also saw one of them getting arrested. On Canal Street we all worked on our bargaining skills to get the best deal on some new purses. Miraculously, we all found ourselves together again in Times Square. In the middle of Times Square, the Army had promotional station set up called “Can you beat boot camp?” Amanda, Natalie, and Christine decided to give it a try. They had to do chin-ups, sit ups, burpees, and weighted squats. The Ladies represented today and won the female category! They won an awesome trophy. Unfortunately, they did not get to keep the trophy because it was too big to pack in our bags to bring back.

The train ride back turned out to be very eventful. Some people had to use their sprinting skills to make it onto the 5:03 train. Luckily, the Ladies are extra fast and made it on just in time! The train began having issues, thought, and we all were stuck on the train one stop to early. Jacks saved the day though and picked us all up to take us to the team finals.

So since we did not make it to team finals we decided to support the next best thing, TWU. We have a lot of ties with Texas Woman’s University. Before coming to be our amazing head coach, Jackie was the assistant coach at Texas Woman’s University. We compete against them every year, and they are the only other team in our nationals that is from the south. As much as we all wish we could have been out on the floor competing, it was fun to be able to actually sit back and watch the sport we love so much. There was a lot of amazing gymnastics at the team finals tonight. We were cheering for TWU as loud as we could, but Brigdeport came out on top as the national champions.

One of our amazing seniors received an awesome award tonight. Lauren Carlton was honored with Marie-Rae Sopper Spirit Award.  Mari-Rae Sopper was a collegiate gymnast at Iowa State University. After graduation, she became a lawyer in Washington D.C. In 2001, she decided to quit her job as a lawyer and pursue her dream of becoming a collegiate gymnastics coach. She had taken the head coaching position at the University of California Santa Barbara with the mission to keep the school from phasing out the gymnastics program at the end of the season. On Sept. 11, 2011, she was on the plane flying to her new job when it crashed into the Pentagon.

The Mari-Rae Sopper award is given to a gymnast who displays love for the sport and a willingness to do anything to keep collegiate gymnastics alive. Lauren definitely exemplifies these qualities. Coach Jackie nominated all three of the seniors to receive the award because they all have gone through so much throughout their four years at Centenary, but unfortunately she could only chose one. They have had three different coaches, four trainers, two Athletic Directors, and two presidents in their four years here. Melody was unable to compete but has stepped up to help the team in any way possible. Lauren wore sneakers with her fancy dress to the banquet on Thursday to protect her feet, and Stephanie tapes her shoulder in place everyday so she can continue to do bars. Throughout it all, they have continued to love the sport and were amazing leaders, friends, and athletes.

It is so sad that this is our last meet with the seniors. We are all going to miss them so much next year. But we will cherish the memories we have with them, and hopefully we are able to fill the big shoes they have left for us.

We’ll see you next year!

Signing off for the last time as Junies

Mu, Chimi, Juicy, and Marge