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Holly McCamant: It’s in best interest of school to keep gymnastics

In seventh grade, I was in gymnastics for one season.

I wasn’t very good at it.

Having a narrow, tall frame and barely any muscle doesn’t exactly work out well for that certain sport, especially if you are terrified of doing something even slightly scary.

Even though the highest scores I got were really low, I got a lot out of the experience. The people on the gymnastics team were all really nice and supportive, even though I was probably the weakest gymnast on the whole team. I grew to care for all of them, and I still do, even though I was only in the sport for one year.

Gymnastics taught me how to push through tough stuff and that conditioning is no joke. Without gymnastics, I have no idea how I would have been able to make it through the tough intervals that I had to do in track.

Since I was able to handle the intervals in track, I stuck with long distance running, and it now is something that I am really passionate about.

I’m not the only girl who was in gymnastics, and I’m definitely not the only one influenced by this sport. To some girls, gymnastics is their only sport. Gymnastics means as much to them as running means to me. If you don’t know how much about me and my love for running, l happen to be pretty crazy about my sport, and you would have quite the reaction if running were to be taken away from me.

When the gymnastics team was installed in Frazee, the gym and storage space was created for them, as far as I know. The team raised their own money and supported themselves through fundraisers.

The elementary program has been very successful and is second to only football as far as participation numbers. I know of several young gymnasts who are eagerly waiting to compete at a high school level.

However, gymnastics does take up a whole gym, and that need has caused some concern. This friction surprises me because when the gymnastics gym is in use, we also have two gyms we can use in the elementary school, two gyms in the high school, the commons, the wrestling room and weight room that we can use in the winter when gymnastics uses their own gym.

Since the green gym was created specifically for gymnastics, shouldn’t the gymnasts be able to use it for part of the year?

There may be new gym class requirements, but they are not in place now, and we should not be asking a sport to leave unless there is a clear problem.

Gymnastics means a lot to the girls who are in it. They believe, as well as I, that it is in the best interest of the school to keep a sport that the school board designated room for.

Sadly, the decision was made to co-op the Frazee gymnastics team with the Detroit Lakes team.  Many of the girls on the Detroit Lakes team started at a very young age and practice year round. Most of the girls in Frazee started practicing when they were around junior high.

This decision means that girls would only be able to practice between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Since Detroit Lakes has so much more experience than our team, and since there are a limited amount of spots on a gymnastics team to compete, probably none of our girls would be able to compete. All they would be able to do is cheer on Detroit Lakes and watch the sport that they love most.

We have a very good elementary program, but what’s the point of having our elementary program if we’re just sending the girls off to Detroit Lakes?

Very few girls are willing to be in a sport that they aren’t able to compete in, especially if they have to go to Detroit Lakes to practice. We have the potential to have a very good gymnastics team in a few years, so why are we sending them away now?

As of now, from what my friends tell me, only one student from Frazee is willing to co-op. This decision has resulted in tears after the board meeting. One of my friends is transferring to Perham because of this whole scenario.

To the girls on the gymnastics team and Coach Amie Erickson, thank you for the experience and support you gave me back in seventh grade. You will always mean a lot to me.

Holly McCamant is a sophomore at Frazee-Vergas High School.