The People of Kansas
Updated: May 5, 2020
I had the pleasure of traveling to Salina, Kansas on March 2nd to
compete in the gymnastics meet, Tumble in the Jungle. It was an amazing experience, not the gymnastics (although that was good too), the people.
The moment I stepped into the gym at Kansas Wesleyan University I
was recognized and treated like a rock star. The first young gymnast from Gem Stars gave me a tour of everything and every place I may need to know, including the coaches and judges hospitality room.
As soon as I finished the tour a photographer approached me and
told me her granddaughter saw I was coming and read EVERYTHING about me. She was dying to meet me and even made me a present! I almost cried. She even asked me to sign her program. This girl, Rylie Ward (11), of Flip Zone Gymnastics in Dodge City was a good gymnast and a Level 7. I saw her floor routine and vault. Wow! Right after, another photographer from the Salina paper walked up and introduced himself, said he would be taking pictures of me. I almost cried again.
Anywhere I went, someone introduced themselves to me. Young or old, it didn't matter. In fact some of the most touching introductions were from older people (who happen to be close to my age) who were not necessarily fit. They wanted to meet me and tell me how much I motivated them. A lady, 57, approached me after my uneven bars. She introduced herself and said she saw an article about me a couple weeks ago saying I would be at the meet. She decided to get up early and come see me before she went to work. I almost cried.
And now, it seems my name is becoming "The 60 Year-old Gymnast." Maybe that should be the name of my first book. I think it fits and I already told them I'll be back to Salina next year!
Tumble in the Jungle, meet announcements and newspaper links: https://www.facebook.com/SalinaFamilyYMCA/posts/2566693543402445