'Beam'ing With Pride

Dear Laurel.

Congratulations on your retirement! I cannot even imagine all of the emotions you must be going through. I know as a gymnast, it was hard for me to leave behind a 17-year career, so I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like moving on from your 46-year career. But I hope that while you are leaving the day-in and day-out of the routine of being a coach, business professional, and colleague, that you don't forget to take your memories with you.

I had a storybook ending to my gymnastics career because you continued to believe in my ability and didn't give up on me, despite always falling off the dang beam. You were not only a technically sound coach, but you were also the only one that knew that at the right time, everything would come together. I will never forget the final four beam routines of my career, from Western Championships to Nationals (that we were lucky to host) - especially the beam routine that helped our team win the 1997 title.

You will always possess the qualities of being a wonderful coach and I hope that you find activities to pour your energy into -- hey, maybe you can teach me how to waterski!

And for as much as your retirement is focusing on the end of an era, don't forget that this is also the beginning of a new one. I know you still have a lot left to give, most importantly, to yourself and those that you hold closest.

Cheers and love.‍

Amanda King, 1997
aka Panda, Donger, King