Recognizing Greatness

The other night we had a very unfortunate event in the gym. One of our team tumblers fell and broke her arm. It’s a rough time, when that happens, for everyone.  I had to think twice about blogging this topic as it states the fact that “injuries happen” and I didn’t want to seem either cavalier about it, or make it sound like it’s a common occurence. I didn’t want to panic parents with thoughts of how they don’t want to participate in anything that puts their kids at risk, but the fact of the matter is, as seen in prior posts, that statistically gymnastics is a safer activity for children than soccer, football, hockey and 43 other youth activities (it ranks 47th on E.R. admissions for children’s activity accidents). We’ve had more kids get broken on bikes, playgrounds, back yards and staircases each year than we’ve had over our 10 year total of being in existence. Anyway, I thought that what I wanted to say about the accident outweighed the accident itself and I knew I had to write it down.

When our little gymnast fell and broke her arm, she was attended to by her two coaches immediately. Coaches Scott and Ty quickly put into play our emergency procedure plan. Scott took the remaining group to another event and kept them active, so as not to panic or overwhelm the injured girl. Ty sat with Sierra while I ran around and got the supplies we needed to take care of her. Her parents were called and they were on the way instantly to take her to the UW ER.

The whole last paragraph is procedural. It’s what we do if ever we need to respond to an injury, and the well thought out and properly prepared for plan went off like clockwork. The extraordinary part is what happened next.  Sierra was switching back and forth from panicked and in pain to controlling her breathing and being more lucid. She was surprisingly in good spirits most of the time, asking us to “tell her a joke” and apologizing for crying.  Ty and I insisted that crying was not anything to aplogize for and sadly enough our jokes were just not funny. We both commented on how brave and strong she was acting. She was so mature and her strength was inspiring. That is wonderful, we were actually proud of her reaction. But that is still not the part I want to write about.

When we helped her to the car, for her dad to drive her in, I held her arm in place though it was splinted and padded pretty well it was helping to keep her calm. Her dad assured us that he would call with the update and keep us in the loop. When they left, and we returned inside. Coach Ty was pretty shaken up. It’s not easy dealing with one of your kids getting hurt. And though it was an accident and there was nothing a coach could have done, coaches always feel guilty and usually a little nauseated.  Ty was no different. He mustered his strength, and returned to the team. Giving Coach Scott the update and helping him finish the practice session.

After a long day at work and a tragic accident. Coach Ty and Coach Scott, left the gym and went to support the family and the athlete that was at the UW. They sat with Sierra’s family until 1:35AM helping them deal with things and taking another swing at “not funny” jokes to ease tension. They stayed until they were sure that everything  that could be done was done. I forgot to mention that Ty also works at the UW. He pulled strings, called in favors and made sure that Sierra was treated the best that she could be. She was a U-W-E-R-V-I-P.

After a long night, both Ty and Scott returned to the hospital the next morning as Sierra went into surgery for some pins to be put into her arm. With Balloons and good spirit they came again to support their athlete.  They stayed until she returned from surgery and probably took a third swing at the “jokes” to help the parents be at ease.

The dedication of these coaches goes above and beyond what anyone could expect from a coach. The concern for their athletes and their personal involvement in Sierra’s care and recovery was so extraordinary that I wanted to personally write about it.

I am very proud of my staff. Over the last 10 years we have had instructors, coaches and office people who have embraced the greater concept that fuels Gymfinity; the concept that our children deserve the best care while helping them grow to be good and healthy people.  I meet other coaches all the time at business conferences, competitions and other professional events and I never hesitate to brag about our people. We have been very fortunate in our staff. Couple that with an extensive training program, we are sure that our “good” people become “great” through their course of time with Gymfinity. But these two men have inspired me. They have taken the heart of a young girl and her family and provided guidance, comfort and love. Gymfinity does not have any “ordinary” staff but Scott and Ty are truly extraordinary by any standard. 

I want to extend a gracious “Thanks” to Our coaches Scott and Ty for taking care of our client athletes and families but even more for showing the rest of us what we are capable of.  Thank you guys.

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