This is a picture of an email that you sent me during my freshman season of 2004. I printed it out and glued it in my scrapbook all those years ago! You know better than anyone that I have always struggled with self-confidence and yet, you believed in me. Your message has remained steady all these years, you believed I could contribute with my gymnastics abilities and you have believed in my abilities as a coach. This is the greatest gift you have given to me and I feel incredibly grateful.
This is true of so many of your athletes. I have seen you believe in your gymnasts so much that they have no option but to compete the skill and be successful. Your response to the gymnast who always competed the Yurchenko tuck full, “Your vault is a layout full.” To the gymnast with gorgeous beam who just keeps falling in a meet, “You are staying in line-up because your beam is just too beautiful not to be competing.” You know they are capable and you leave no room for anything but their full potential.
I started coaching when I moved back to Seattle for graduate school at UW. I needed an internship for my program and you were in need of another assistant. Even though I had other plans for myself, it was just too appealing to say anything but, yes, and I committed to helping you for one year. Ten years later…here we are. I guess coaching has a way of drawing you in and SPU Gymnastics has such a captivating history. For the past 19years I have not known gymnastics without you. For the past ten seasons I have not known my career without you. When we sat in the office and you told me Conference was your last meet in Brougham, I was in shock. We talked about thei dea of it so many times before, but somehow, I still wasn’t ready. My body was physically vibrating.
As I arrived at my interview for a position that was vacant for the first time in 44 years, I felt myself shaking again. But then, I told myself “Trust yourself and your abilities.” With this message from you, Laurel,I had no other option.
You have created quite the legacy over the past four+ decades and I have no doubt that your influence will continue to grow far into the future. You have given me more than I could have ever dreamed out of this sport: A collegiate career that brought me so much joy and growth as a person. A career-career that has brought me SO MUCH JOY AND GROWTH as a person.
And it extends far beyond gymnastics. You watched me fall in love and witnessed my marriage. You watched my belly grow and grow and grow (x2) and came to our house at 3:00am to stay with Charlie as we welcomed Sammy into the world. You have been a big part of so many of our journeys and I can say without a doubt you have been one of the most instrumental people in mine. You are family.
I am humbled and grateful and, and, and….there are no words to express what it means to lead YOUR program into the future. I pray that my years with you have taught me to: lead with consistency, design creative routines to fulfill requirements with individual strengths, respect the judges, honor our history, pay attention to all the dance details, and above all model to my athletes just what it means to TRUST MYSELF AND MY ABILITIES!
Thank you. I love you. And Fly Birds!