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    letters | out of joint over future of boys’ gymnasitcs

    Life lessons of the sport too valuable to dismiss

    I serve the citizens of Tulsa County, Okla., as the elected district judge. I was shocked by the decision of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to drop boys’ gymnastics as a recognized high school competitive sport. I was a high school gymnast from 1974 to 1977, and was the Massachusetts state champion on the still rings and a member of the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Gymnastics team in 1977. I was honored to compete in the ’70s with Peter Kormann, Tim Daggett, and Rich Ellis, who were mentioned in your article (“Boys’ gymnastics dropped by MIAA,” Jan. 24). More important, I was heavily influenced by men like my gymnastics coach, Rich Hayes, who, other than my family, has had the greatest impact on my life and who I am today.

    Gymnastics is not about a winning season or how many kids participate or even how many spectators pay money to support the sport; it’s about the gymnasts themselves and the life lessons that are learned. It’s about the great coaches, judges, colleagues, and families who taught us values such as discipline, delayed gratification, goal-setting, and personal achievement.

    I join others in expressing my extreme disappointment in the MIAA’s decision, and I implore the association to reconsider, and to recognize the benefits to those boys, however many or however few, who do participate in competitive gymnastics. Many new success stories will begin on the same apparatuses on which so many success stories were forged in the past.

    James M. Caputo

    Tulsa, Okla.