CONTRIBUTED BY LEILA ALLEN
A significant part of gymnastics is being flexible. The gymnastics team at the high school has gone through numerous disappointments this season, but the gymnasts have adapted and remained hopeful that they will be able to go into the gym soon.
The start of the season was delayed from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. The team has been practicing virtually twice a week on Zoom since Dec. 16. On the day that the team was supposed to have their first in-person practice, all winter sports were postponed and did not start back up again until Jan. 26.
Coach Jerri McMannis said the delay of the season was disappointing.
“It was very tough. We’ve been looking forward to it, obviously, since the season started. It’s been a long road to get us where we were, so we were surprised. We understand what’s going on in the community and the state that that is for the best,” McMannis said.
Senior and captain Leila Allen said that the team has had difficulties practicing at home instead of at the gym, having to sometimes use towels and everyday objects to substitute for the real gear.
“Pretty much none of us have any equipment at home, so it’s kind of hard to not be able to really practice our routines because for gymnastics you really need to have the equipment to accurately work on that kind of stuff,” Allen said. “We’re trying to make the best of it and do what we can to strengthen our bodies at home so that when we do get back to the gym we will be as ready as we can be.”
According to senior Emily Horigan, the team struggled with not practicing together.
“Obviously everything is changing because of COVID, but I feel like being with the people on the team would have made everyone happy and more excited to actually do things, which can be hard during this time,” Horigan said.
Senior Lexie Engelman said that while the social aspect of virtual practice is different than it would be in a normal year, they have still been trying to connect with each other.
“You don’t get to talk with anyone one-on-one. But we still try to go around. We’ll do a trivia question or a get to know you question at the beginning of practice. It’s just the one-on-one conversations are hard because you’re basically always in a room with everybody in it,” Engelman said.
Sophomore Naama Tomer is one of many team members who appreciates that practicing virtually leaves her with more free time.
“Honestly the best part is that it’s super manageable when it comes to time. For example, if a lot of people can’t do a certain day or certain time, then we’re able to change it, which isn’t something that is normally allowed to happen, so that’s been really nice,” Tomer said.
McMannis said that everyone is somewhat concerned about the health risks that come with practicing inside but are actively adapting to stay safe.
“It’s tough because while we want to be able to provide the experiences, you have to keep in mind a long term benefit of the well-being of everyone involved,” McMannis said. “There are definitely concerns: we’re taking and sharing as much responsibility and caution as humanly possible, not only within the gym ourselves, but also talking to teams in the league and asking what other things they’re doing and learning from other people’s best practices.”