Pre-Season Competition, Leotards, Practices, etc.

PRESEASON MEET CLARIFICATION — The pre-season meet is only for girls’ Level 2, 3, 4 and 5. Boys will have their pre-season meet in October in Sheboygan. Girls’ Level 6, 7, 8/9 and Xcel will have their preseason meet as part of the Wild Wild West Classic in October. Tumbling and Trampoline will have their pre-season meet in November. The team picture is prior to the preseason meet on Friday at 4:30 p.m., so we expect on all of our levels of team can attend, but the competition is just for Girls’ Level 2-5. Optionals are encouraged to stay and help. Fast Track is encouraged to come watch so that they can learn how the process works for their upcoming meet season.

LEOTARD EXCHANGE — We have heard from a couple of individuals now that their long-sleeve leotard is too snug (Payton D., Level 2; Vanesa K., Level 4; and Angela B., Level 4). If you have tried your competition leotard on your gymnast and you don’t think it fits well, we will try to gather gymnasts after the team picture for a leotard exchange. We do not have any larger leotards at this time, so we would need to order for the largest of sizes.

SHORT-SLEEVE EXHIBITION LEOTARD — If gymnasts that have both the long-sleeve and short-sleeve leotard could bring both leotards to the team picture, that would be appreciated. We will have a few gymnasts who do not have the short-sleeve leotard yet on Xcel that will need to borrow for the team picture. Those take quite a long time to produce, so we are still waiting on them from the distributor.

WARM-UPS — Compulsory level warm-ups have arrived if you ordered by the original deadline. We will distribute those on Friday after the team picture. There were some who ordered late and those are not be available yet. We are still waiting on optional-level warm-ups.

FALL SCHEDULE BEGINS MONDAY — As a reminder, the Fall schedule begins on Monday. Please see previous blog posts for the most updated schedule. There are a few groups who changed times and dates, so double check the blog.

LABOR DAY PRACTICES — We will not have any team practice on Saturday, September 5. This includes Girls’ Level 2 and 3, TOPs/HOPES, Boys’ Level 8 and Xcel Gold. The mock meet will serve as the extra practice for Girls’ Level 2 and Level 3. Xcel Gold will have their practice made up closer to meet season.

Additionally, there will be no T&T practice on Friday, September 4. Please have all T&T athletes come to practice on Wednesday, September 2 from 7:15-8:30 p.m.

PRACTICE MAKE-UPS — Parents, please understand that we have a difficult time with allowing make-ups for missed team practices. If your child misses a practice, it is difficult for us to have them make up with a different level. What if, for instance, the whole of our Level 3 team decided to miss and want to make up with Level 4 the next day? We couldn’t accommodate the additional 15 gymnasts during that practice. Even adding one gymnast to a Level 4 group which is already bulging at 12 gymnasts is difficult, taking time away from the 12 currently on that team. While we appreciate the desire to attend practice, it’s just not feasible to schedule everyone who misses practice at a different time. If you miss a practice, come to Friday Night Open Gym or set up a private lesson.

Also understand that we have a very generous summer practice schedule. We offer every level (except Xcel Bronze and Silver) additional time without an additional charge. Our Level 9s/XDs had 72 extra practice hours offered this summer at no additional charge. Even Fast Track has been offered 24 extra practice hours this summer. Some gymnasts have made almost all extra practices, some next to none. But this is our way of offering you makeups over the course of the year. This should cover vacations, illnesses and the occasional shut down of practice during instructional, holiday or weather-related times.

COMPETITIVE SCHEDULE CHANGE — There have been some dates that have changed to some of our meets based on original information that we received. All final meet schedules will be on wildcard-gymnastics.com under the team tab (along with all historical meet results).

The following meets have had changes, thus necessitating a change in schedule for us:

Buffalo Grove Hawaiian Pineapple has been scheduled for Dec. 19-20 instead of Dec. 12-13. Boys Level 5 & 8 and Girls’ Level 6-up were scheduled to attend. We would like to replace this meet with either the Justin Spring Invitational (at the University of Illinois-Champaign) for both boys and girls or the UW-Oshhosh Invitational (at UW-Oshkosh) for girls and and find a different meet for the boys (likely Salto in March). Both Justin Spring and UW-Oshkosh are on Dec. 12-13. Parents of boys’ Level 5-up and girls’ Level 6-up, please let us know your preference.

There has been some concern over the girls’ meet scheduled in Minneapolis on Jan. 29-31. Honestly, this was done to keep our boys’ and girls’ team together as the boys are scheduled to compete in Minneapolis at a different meet that same weekend. If the Minnesota competition is too much of a bother, we can replace that on the girls’ side with the Altius Pink Ribbon Meet in Franklin, Wis., that same weekend if there is concern over going to Minnesota. Parents of girls’ Level 6-up, please let us know your preference.

The Wildcard Cruise Classic is looking more and more like its not going to be an off-site meet this season. It is looking like it will be a USAG-sanctioned Xcel meet and an AAU-sanctioned all levels meet with no boys or T&T competition. As a result, we will replace this meet on the boys schedule with another meet TBD and the T&T meet will be replaced by another meet as well once we get a full T&T meet schedule from the clubs in Wisconsin and the clubs in Illinois. Even if the meet is to go off site with boys, it will definitely not have T&T as we haven’t come to an acceptable agreement with M&M Gymnastics who was going to provide the equipment. The T&T meet will be replaced by a meet at Gymfinity (Fitchburg) and we’re still waiting on one more meet to add to the schedule.

OLYMPIC COACH FACES CHARGES — We wanted to discuss this before it became a “hotbed” topic. Olympic coach and gym owner Marvin Sharp — coach of Olympians Samantha Peszek and Bridget Sloan — has been arrested on a charge of child molestation. For those of you who follow gymnastics, this will be in your news feed. For those of you who don’t, this still may be in your news feed. We want to address it because it will be a topic for discussion, and we don’t want to turn a blind eye toward this. Click here for the story.

USA Gymnastics provides resources to clubs to prevent this type of thing from happening. They provide educational resources (which we have passed on to the gymnasts). USAG provides a list of individuals ineligible for hire that are no longer allowed to be associated with USA Gymnastics. USAG also requires background checks for coaches and staff through an independent organization to safeguard this from happening.

The shocking thing about this case is that it did happen despite USAG’s safeguards. It happened to one of USA Gymnastics national team coaches. It happened down the street from USA Gymnastics headquarters (Marvin Sharp’s gym is located in Indianapolis as is USA Gymnastics headquarters). It happened to someone who is embedded with USA Gymnastics (Samantha Peszek’s mother, LuAnn is one of the top officials in USA Gymnastics, serving as vice president of the women’s artistic program for many years until being moved to vice president of tumbling & trampoline this year).

Some of us have met Marvin Sharp. He comes off as an “everyday” guy, a hard worker, willing to share his expertise. He is the typical, “he doesn’t look like he would … ” kind of person.

The point is, despite all safeguards, this did happen. We want to address this to encourage parents to speak to your children about what to do if something were to happen to them (no matter where it occurred, be it school, on the bus, at home, or at sports activity). Children need to have a voice if something inappropriate happens to them. Please let your children know that they can come to any of us at any time if they have a concern or feel like something inappropriate happened. Children know when something isn’t right.  They know if it made them feel uncomfortable and should have someone to talk with about those feelings.

The corollary to this is that we must remember that Marvin Sharp was just arrested at this point and has not been found guilty. This very thing happened to a club owner in Wisconsin. He was accused and arrested of inappropriate relations with a minor. It went to trial and he was found not guilty because it was a false accusation. Even the accusation had an adverse affect on this individual.

Remember, that most people are good, hard-working, trustworthy individuals.  At Wildcard, we strive to hire qualified, safe, family-oriented coaches.  We don’t want this situation to scare the gymnasts, parents, or potential customers.  We simply promote a safe and friendly environment with open communication.

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