Bigger space, bigger accomplishments


The Mirror reporter

Many are unaware of what SPASH gymnasts go through during their season. I got ahold of the head coach and she had a lot to say.

According to head coach Jennifer Bellmer “My hope for the future is that a huge school like SPASH will recognize that the gymnastics team really does need the whole upper gym to ourselves. I hope that the wrestlers can get their own space. The benefits would go far beyond the people involved in just the two sports.” She continued, “There are five obvious areas that would benefit with more space available to each team.”

Number Five: “Ringworm alert! There seems to have been yet another outbreak of ringworm. If the wrestlers get their own space, then we can keep that from spreading to the gymnasts as well as to the daily gym classes that utilize the wrestling mats. There is just not enough space for everyone, so it is inevitable that we need to use that area. Despite janitors disinfecting the space each day, kids somehow still manage to contract that pesky fungus,” Bellmer said.

Sometimes our team uses the wrestling mats if the wrestlers are not practicing because their mat acts as a whole floor (which we don’t have) to run through our floor routines. The girls shouldn’t be worrying about getting ringworm when they’re just trying to practice.

This picture shows that the SPASH gymnasts only get two strips of spring floor rather than an entire floor.

Number Four: “If we could set up an entire gym, then perhaps would entice others to join. We are one of the few schools in the state that are unable to set up an entire spring floor to practice. If we had a whole floor we could theoretically have more students, more floor available to take more turns. Our program is growing and we need to account for future growth. Also, I’ll mention that when injured kids come to practice, they need space where they can do their supplementary workouts without getting ‘surprise landed upon,’” Bellmer said.

I agree with this statement because personally if I am taking a tumbling pass and the injured girls are off to the side and move as I am going, we may hit each other.

“I will also mention that it is highly probable that the team would improve immensely if we had an entire floor to work out on, having the ‘real experience’ before going to a competition. The floor space is one example of how a full gym could entice more students!” Bellmer added.

Number Three: “Storage issues! There are not many places for us to store our other half of the spring floor which include three very large rolls of foam, and three carts of sprinted boards, and wooden connector pieces. Those things take up A LOT of space. Currently, we have been storing them in the loading dock which janitors are not fond of. One year we attempted to store them in the corner of the field house but they were in the way again with the gym classes. There are also huge rolls of spring floor carpet that get buried in the south storage closet and If those could move upstairs then that would free up a lot of room for other sports in there. Also, we end up keeping our chalk bucket, springs, floor materials, extra bars, vault board and vault collar, and score flashers upstairs in the tiny closet,” Bellmer said.

Also, when the gymnasts need to set up or tear down, we sometimes get yelled at because our stuff will ‘take up too much space’ if the basketball team has to practice or has a game. It makes the gymnasts feel lower than the basketball team, even though every sport should be treated equally.

Number Two: “Equipment durability! Simply put, the less we move around all the equipment room to room to room, upstairs and downstairs, the longer it will last because it will remain in better shape. Also, it’s sad but true, but there have been countless times that vandalism of our equipment has forced us into spending money to repair items. At one point, an entire vault mat was missing and the school athletic department budget ended up purchasing a brand new mat because our old one had oddly vanished. There was another occasion when we ended up purchasing a brand new beam mat because some kids had picked apart the inside foam making it unusable. There was also another issue when our vault fabric was ripped to shreds and we ended up needing to pay a professional ‘gymnastics equipment man expert’ to come and recover it. I could go on and on. Unfortunately, we have tried numerous solutions in order to keep kids off our equipment, but after a decade of coaching, I know that the best solution is if our equipment had its own place to be protected.”

One time, our team was setting up the vault and on the table was a banana peel and our vault table was all sticky which is unacceptable and rude.

Finally, Number One: “The number one reason to have the upper gym to ourselves, which is reason enough on its own, is because of SAFETY! There are a lot of people involved here. For gymnasts, if we could have the room to properly set up a gym as the equipment is intended to, there would be a lot less silly accidents such as rolled ankles or people falling off beams into one another. Again, this is unavoidable right now since there is little room for equipment re-arrangement. For wrestlers, they would not have to worry about being landed on by a gymnast who tumbles and goes back into the red curtain that kind of separates us. For basketball players, because of the lack of space upstairs, we have to vault in the field house and when we get down there, basketball players end up having to make sure the ball doesn’t run into a sprinting, flying, or flipping gymnast.”

Overall, I really want this issue to be talked about and educate others about what goes on behind the scenes of the gymnastics team. Gymnastics and wrestling are growing and there is not enough room for everyone involved to comfortably practice in so please, support this proposal and share this story with friends and family to get the word out.