Things I Remember About Laurel

One of the first things I appreciate about Laurel when I consider our time working together was that she was patient and taught me a lot about gymnastics. Prior to working with the team I had never spent any time with the sport so I knew very little. Laurel gave me lots of books and took the time to explain many times the names of skills. She shared with me much of the history of SPU gym, (SPU PERIOD ACTUALLY!) the culture of the sport, and the mental side of performance from a perspective I never knew. Laurel respected my position and yet was challenging in ways that really helped me to be able to meet our athletes in places I would not have otherwise been able to without understanding these things. Thanks Laurel for taking the time to do this. I appreciate that Laurel without even necessarily being aware was always “being flexible,” not flexible in that way, but actually stretchy!!!!! Laurel you always were popping off some random stretch and I would be like “are you tight?" and you would always sort of scrunch up your face a little bit and be like, “yea maybe or no I just like to stretch.” Does anyone have a picture of this? If not for reals, you do in your mental gallery!!!! Laurel has a sweet tooth. Laurel, do you actually eat real food??? JK, I know you do…. I’ve seen it, buttt we definitely shared a love for froyo or ice cream and I always appreciated that we did this together on road trips. How many jelly beans do you think you have consumed in your lifetime? When you have been at one place for a really long time numbers sometimes really put things into perspective. I recall my 40th birthday being on a road trip in January with the team and I was given a 40-year shirt that celebrated 40 years of the program and ironically 40 years of my age. It also represented that for 40 years, the length of my life at the time, Laurel had been the only coach for SPU gym! I admit thinking DANG, how old is Laurel if she has been here as long as I have lived????? Really though, congrats Laurel on many years of success and noteworthy impact on so many. What a testament to passion for one thing and for commitment to one place. One of my favorite memories was watching Laurel watch Kai win a national championship in floor her senior year! That was pretty awesome. Laurel had a lot of personal pride in that moment and who wouldn't! I could not help but appreciate how awesome that must have felt and what it meant for them to share that moment. It was pretty special! It remains one of my favorite career moments that I appreciated more than just sport. One of my favorite things to do was watch Laurel watch competition. Knowing that she was no longer a competitor but had been, has been a judge FOREVER and definitely appreciates “finer” gymnastics. It was always fun for me to watch Laurel’s facial expressions or body language for clues as to whether what was happening was good or just, well, you know “decent!" This was especially true for a guy who really had no idea for the first year or two. Laurel, many wishes to you for a splendid retirement. I hope you have more time for more books that you really like. That you take more vacations and explore more than you ever could before. Thanks for being a part of SPU and so many lives and for giving me a chance and so much respect from the outset. I am grateful for the time we got to spend together both through the great and the less then good! GOD BLESS YOU! (and not for sneezing!)