I am an alumnus of the Andover High School gymnastics team, and I am upset and confused by the MIAA’s decision to drop boys’ gymnastics (“MIAA move to cut boys’ gymnastics criticized,” Jan. 24).
I have participated in numerous sports throughout my life, including a private club gymnastics team, and I can say without a doubt that high school gymnastics was the single-most influential aspect in shaping who I am today.
The MIAA’s own philosophy/mission statement states it exists to promote “discipline, performing under stress, teamwork, sacrifice, commitment, effort,” and a plethora of other characteristics which are embodied by gymnastics, and which I can say I have learned during my time on my high school team. The mission statement goes on to describe serving “the maximum number of . . . students by providing leadership and support for the conduct of interscholastic activities which will enrich the educational experiences of all participants.”
If the gymnastics teams do not meet these requirements, then what would it take? College scholarships? Revenue? More fans? Is this really the basis on which a young person’s wellness should be determined? What, then, is the purpose of this organization if it will not support teams which exist for the very reasons declared to be crucial by the MIAA?
The kids I competed against and alongside have always shown the utmost respect for each other. You will often hear encouragement from the other teams, and you will never hear jeering. Meets were just as much about winning as they were about impressing your friends on the other teams. It is a sport like no other, and to know that others will not have the same opportunities I had is extremely disheartening. I strongly hope the MIAA will reconsider its decision.