Gymnastics: Overlooked and Underfunded

FCHS’ Forgotten Sport

Gymnastics: Overlooked and Underfunded

Maddie Mota, Staff Writer

I have been participating in gymnastics since freshman year. I’m a junior now and for years gymnastics has been facing struggles. One of those struggles is transportation. Since Falls Church doesn’t own any gymnastics equipment, we must practice at other schools. In the past, we practiced every day, minus weekends, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Lake Braddock Secondary School along with Woodson, Annandale, and Lake Braddock varsity gymnastic teams.

This year, with our amazing new coaches, we have the privilege to practice with Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Washington-Lee, and West Potomac. The girls are insanely nice and I love practicing with them and making new friends. However, it’s a constant struggle trying to get every gymnast to practice on time every day. We now practice at Thomas Jefferson on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. We also practice at West Potomac on Thursdays 6:30 to 9 p.m. On Saturdays, we practice at Virginia Youth Sports Gymnastics Center in Woodbridge from 2:30 to 5:30pm.

Most parents don’t want to drive their children to a school 30 minutes away even if it is only one day a week. The three seniors on our team can drive gymnasts but usually only one. It makes me wonder, why don’t we have a bus that takes us to and from practice? They tell us it’s because we don’t have many gymnasts and getting a bus would be pointless. But honestly, a bus would help us gain more gymnasts for future years.

Many girls don’t want to try out for gymnastics or have to drop it because they have no way of getting to and from practice every day. Also an issue is the fact that we have no equipment at Falls Church. Not even one beam! Not even a spring board! I understand we don’t really have a budget for gymnastics equipment, but I mean, we did just buy turf for our fields not that long ago. How much did that cost? Most likely way more than gymnastics equipment costs. However, more sports are played on those fields so I understand the need for a nice field for our hard working athletes.

But our gymnasts are hard working and dedicated as well. And if we can’t get equipment, the least they could give us is a bus to go to practice. Gas isn’t cheap and honestly, having to stress about who’s taking you to and from practice every day is really stressful and annoying and it can be avoided with one bus. Hopefully these struggles will make for a great upcoming season. Because we don’t have equipment, we never have a home meet, but you can come out and support us in our next meet, which will be at Marshall High School on December 15, starting at 6:30 p.m.