Dear Gym Dogs:
This time last year I took you to task for everything from your choice of beam music to your introductory video. Having attended the Sneak Peek this year, I'm taking a different approach and accentuating the positive. I won't even pretend to be impartial or objective. I'm trying not to get my hopes up to unrealistic levels, but that's just the fan I am. Please know, however, that I am a true fan. Should you NOT live up to my expectations.... I will still support you, pull for you, and send you enough money that my season tickets, hospitality room passes, and VIP parking pass are secure.
KE - I hate it that you got hurt last year before the first competition. From what I've seen so far, it was truly our loss. Your beam routine is awesome, and I can't wait to see your WHOLE floor routine. With the double layout that I've heard you're capable of but haven't unveiled yet. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?
KB - If you make the line-up and are competitive on three events like your coach said you might be, I will take back every single time I ever referred to you as a wasted scholarship. I LOVE your middle pass in your floor routine, and you looked phenomenal on beam. Good for you, taking it upon yourself to get in better shape and polish your skills over the summer. One question: What were you doing the LAST two summers? I'm just sayin'...
KD - I would bet my next paycheck that this year you will finally be awarded the 10.0 you've had coming to you for the past two years. I don't know where they're taking that .025 deduction, but it may be on the half pirouette on the low bar. Get that baby nailed down, and I'm thinking there may be more than ONE perfect 10.0 in your future. I'm proud of you for persevering and making your way into the all-around your senior year. Keep that gorgeous smile, and always make that face you made in the Florida meet last year when you stick a landing.
WK - Welcome to college, baby. Try not to look like you're scared of your own shadow the first time you run out into the Coliseum, and you'll be fine. Just do what you've always done. And smile. It's supposed to be fun.
CT - I have always loved your grace and style, and I don't see where your critics get off making so many comments about desserts and buffet lines. What they call sluggish I see as precise, but who am I to judge objectively? About that side-sommi on beam - either make it pretty or take it out. There aren't many people who can do it beautifully, so if you can't perfect it, throw it out. You've got plenty of other skills. Keep showing your dance skills on floor.
MB - You will always be my favorite walk-on. Your floor routine this year looks like you've been working on your presentation. Good for you. If you don't make the line-up because we have so much depth this year, I will still admire you for sticking around and working so hard even when you have to pay your own way. You rock.
SW - Several people have said this is your year. You've been plagued by injuries, but there have also been rumors of a less-than-stellar work ethic. I hope that is all behind you and you can become a rock your last two years. I've seen you perform at near-perfect levels, so I'm confident you can turn things around. There are records to be broken, so get after them!
GN - Please, please, please take care of your back. We need you on bars and floor! I am so glad they have reduced your tumbling passes to two and still kept enough difficulty to give you a 10.0 start value. I absolutely love that Gienger-to-immediate-shootover on bars. I realize the connection is sometimes difficult to time right, and it doesn't mean a deduction when you don't do it, but it is awe-inspiring when you get it right. That smile of yours is as dazzling as your gymnastics.
SP - I was wowed by that front aerial to immediate scale on balance beam, and I was even more impressed when I learned that it's an E level move. Seriously? E level on BEAM? I hope you are able to compete in the all-around. If you can do that as a freshman, then the future for you - and the Gym Dogs - is a bright one.
CH - Manage to control that landing on vault, and you will be a force to be reckoned with. I was enthralled with your floor routine, too, and I hope you can make the line-up in more than one event this year.
LM - You bailed us out on beam twice last year, once at one of the most important championships of the year. And you calmly posted an impressive 9.875 even as a last-minute substitute. I hope you can find your way back into the line-up this year, and not just due to someone else's injury. You're cute as a button, and you clearly have ice water in your veins. Good for you.
LC - Please, please, please stay healthy. Your skills are amazing, as evidenced by the fact that in your first meet in the all-around last year, you shot to #1 in the nation. I'd love to see you do that again. I appreciate the fact that you also have a triple element flight series on beam, when you're only required to do two.
CD - Another freshman with the potential to do the all-around? Wow. When I first heard your floor music, I couldn't decide whether to be appalled or amused. But then the crowd got into it, and I realized that's what it's all about. The Coliseum will be rocking when they hear that music, so it's up to you to make the line-up.
NC - You've been our rock, especially last year. You led off several events, which means your scores will never be stellar, but your consistency makes you an excellent choice for the lead-off spot. Your facial expressions during your floor routine make it a joy to watch. Keep nailing those vault landings.
BB - You were relegated to the role of cheerleader last year due to injury, and I hope you are able to compete this year, at least on vault.
CP and DH - I don't know enough about either of you to give advice or observations, but welcome to the Gym Dog family.
Your most devoted (obsessed?) fan,