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LETTERS TO LAUREL

Grace, tough love, hard work, and straddle-cuts

Laurel,

Wow! 46 years!?! Not only is that a feat in and of itself that deserves praise but, what you've accomplished during that time is nothing short of impressive. That said, beyond all your awards and accolades and those of the teams and individuals you coached throughout the years...are the less tangible, but obvious, ways you've made a positive impact.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the '97 national championship team and am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that bonding experience and have forever girlfriends who are like family to me and YOU are at the helm of that experience! But, whether it was this team or any other, your positive quotes posted in your office and throughout the gym, in newsletters, puzzle pieces or other crafts, and general messages of what it means to be a team and work together...this has carried with me throughout my life, work, etc. since then. Though I spent much of my time injured and may not have started off exemplifying what it meant to be a great team member....you never gave up on me and with a little tough love...you helped me get on track and made me realize the error of my ways. You, also, made me realize, injured or not, I could have a positive impact on our team through hard work and sacrifice! I will be forever grateful for your grace, tough love, your message of teamwork, and your tremendous example of hard work! To this day, I have never seen someone multi-task like you (...and I'm not just talking about your ability to speed walk WHILE reading a book and I having to jog to try and keep up with you! Haha.). I think of how hard you worked to coach us crazy, emotional college kids, run the club, judge, and balance family life. THAT was a feat in and of itself in which you did, day-in and day-out, so gracefully.

You were and are so unbelievably knowledgeable and creative, as well! I can see you coming back after a meet or watching a meet on TV and saying, "Hey guys...let's try this!" And there we were all lined up trying vaulting mounts on bars, for example. Though straddle cuts probably weren't one of those examples....I appreciated how hard you worked to try to boost our start values for the greater good of the team. ;-)

Thanks for being my mentor as my coach, for the opportunity to coach with you for a couple years after I graduated, and helping me get started in judging with copies of your short-hand notes. I may dust them off again when the timing is right to get back into it because we all know...you have the most legible penmanship and short-hand of anyone! :-)

LT- You are a class act and I wish you all the best of new adventures, relaxation, and/or whatever your heart desires in your retirement!

Thanks for everything! Best wishes and congratulations!

Sincerely,

Kathy Klubben/Thorpe aka "Klubben", "Klub", "Klubdog" :-)

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