Support Men’s NCAA Gymnastics

Tom and I just sent our letters to support Cal Men’s Gymnastics: Here’s our thoughts on the situation:

July 10, 2010

Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau

200 California Hall # 1500

University of California

Berkeley, CA 94720-1500

Dear Chancellor Birgeneau,

“But one of the redeeming things about being an athlete - one of the real services we can perform - is to redefine what’s humanly possible.  We cause people to reconsider their limits, to see that what looks like a wall may really just be an obstacle in the mind”. - Lance Armstrong

The decision for Cal is simple.  Abandon a program with a rich history - probably the easy simple solution, or celebrate in 2012 a new 100 years of one of its most successful athletic programs. Cal could reverse this trend of minimizing the value of athletics and redefine what is humanly possible for a University experience.

I was a student athlete for Cal in the mid 1970’s, probably the golden era for Men’s NCAA gymnastics with well over 100 division one programs.  We were NCAA Champions in 1975, 3rd in 1974 and 1976.  I won 2 individual NCAA titles, was the USA individual All-Around champion and a 1976 Olympian. As a team we maintained one of the highest graduation rates from one of the toughest and highest rated Universities in the country. These statistics can easily be looked up. What isn’t in the record books is that we trained in Harmon Room 109, a facility so small that we couldn’t even have all the equipment set up at the same time, we would have to run down the hall into the room to vault because the room wasn’t long enough for the vaulting runway.  Even though this facility was sub-standard even then, we found a way to redefine what was humanly possible.

I take these experiences from Cal with me every day.  They give me the courage to challenge difficult situations, to serve underserved sectors of our society and have the confidence that I can be successful.  Being a student-athlete defines who I am today.Gymnastics was one of the original sports in the ancient Olympics and one of the glamour sports of the modern Olympics today.  Cal has one of the richest histories of any Universities, a perennial leader.  Please take the challenge to show the value of college athletic, redefine what is possible for University life today.

Sincerely yours,Thomas A Beach
Executive DirectorThe Non-Profit Toolbox
tom@thetoolboxinc.com

Cc: Sandy Barbour

_____________________________________________________

July 10, 2010

Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau

200 California Hall # 1500

University of California

Berkeley, CA 94720-1500

Dear Chancellor Birgeneau,

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has thepower to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” - Nelson Mandela

This is what I think of when I think of Cal Men’s Gymnastics. No it’s not the most popular sport, nor does it bring in the big bucks for the athletic department. We do live in a capitalistic environment, but should a sport be discontinued because it is not the most popular?As a graduate, I see the University of California as a melting pot, and a pillar of great traditions. Cal has a tradition of research and development for not only the moneymaking ventures; but is what it is because it is there to also support the inspired.

2012 is the 100th year of support for men’s gymnastics, a sport that has evolved through the years, and still Cal is (and always has been) a major player in the evolution of the sport. It is a proud tradition, with Dr. Frey at the forefront of the creation of what is now the USAG (United States Gymnastics) and attracting superior coaches and athletes. International Teams and individuals came to Cal to compete and train.

I met my husband at Cal, he was on the team, and represented the United States (and Cal) in the 1976 Olympic Games. The facility was not “cutting edge” but the coaching was, and the team proved it in 1975 when they won the NCAA’s when there were many teams competing for the honor.I am sure that what we see going on with the Cal Men’s Gymnastics Team is a microcosm of what is happening to many sports all across the US, as cities, counties, and states grapple with strained resources, and budget problems.

What should a college or university provide to the community, the students? Much can be said about how the sport provided various individuals with an avenue to success, and there are many of those stories.

I state my appeal for Cal to continue to support Men’s gymnastics and leave you with two last statements:We currently live outside of Boston, where college traditions thrive. The Ivy League Colleges with their reputation of honor and tradition. I think Cal can be like them, where sport is respected, and very much a part of their legacy.

My adult daughter is currently taking classes at Cal; she recently visited Harmon Gym, and was proud to see that Cal had a representation of the gymnastics tradition that her father was a part of for all to see.

Sincerely yours,

Reiko Beach
President
The Non-Profit Toolboxreiko@thetoolboxinc.comcc: Sandy Barbour

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