Men's Gymnastics
Men's Gymnastics Team Motivated By West Coast Setback

Sean-Paul Crawford
Sean-Paul Crawford

March 14, 2001

Well we're back from California and what a trip it was! I told you all that something interesting happens on every trip, well here is one specific incident.

As we were leaving Champaign, we were delayed on the runway due to some heavy traffic in Chicago and had to sit for a good 20 minutes. This girl, who was obviously a student, flipped out big-time about our delay. She got on her cell phone and was screaming to her parents about how much she hates catching her connecting flights in Chicago because of the usual delays. She was so loud in protesting that it became entertaining to everybody on our team.

As we were making our descent into O'Hare she got airsick. Since Leo Oka has been taking photography he decided he'd take a picture of her getting sick. Why?....I don't know, but J.G. Ketchen was more than willing to help Leo by getting a better angle. After we had landed J.G. announced to the girl that Leo took a picture of her being sick and Leo turned bright red with embarrassment. He tried to deny it but had to settle with admitting to the deed. The girl wasn't pleased but she was a good sport and laughed it off. Sorry if I grossed you out, I couldn't help it but to share it all with you since I promised to fill you in on all the team's antics.

Anyway, things didn't go quite as well as planned out in California. We had a rough meet and ended up placing second to Cal-Berkeley. We were extremely disappointed. We competed well on most events, but we had one setback. "The Great Equalizer," better know as the pommel horse, didn't seem to like us a whole lot. It has given us major problems in the past, and seems to continue to haunt us even after a great performance two weeks ago. It seemed that the pommel horse itself was our competitor, not Cal-Berkeley, UC-Santa Barbara, ASU, or Washington. When it was all over, we counted six missed routines--not good. That put us three points behind after two events, leaving a lot of ground to make up.

We went all out on the next four events, narrowing the margin to three tenths of a point in the end. It was a close one, but I think it generated some positivism after we realized we could still come out with a great score. So hopefully, we have a better understanding of our potential and capabilities as a team. Although we lost, maybe it was good thing. I don't know many athletes that would say that, and I personally can't stand to lose, but maybe it was meant to be sort of a reality check. Maybe it was supposed to happen that way so that we don't allow ourselves to be too quick to count our eggs before they hatch. I guess you can always work harder, right?

That's exactly what we're doing. We got back on Sunday night and we were given our training schedule for the next week up until the Big Ten meet. We had the luxury of sleeping in on Monday morning, but we had to be at practice at 2 p.m. Tuesday wasn't so luxurious--we had double workouts. First it was conditioning from 9-11 a.m. Then we were back at 2 p.m. for a three-hour practice which we all struggled through. It was good, despite being sore and tired we all seemed to get good work done. We have two more double workouts this week and three more "normal" practices.

Just like that we have found our motivation. It's called "defeat", we hate it! We had just forgotten how much we had hated it because of our success this season.