I am as happy as heck for the gymnasts in the city to be out of that decrepit old building on Wellington Street.
Despite its successes as a club, the cramped quarters has always limited its ability to offer a true gymnastics program. The ceiling is too low and the rooms are too small, so all the credit to be able to develop athletes who have gain on to excel in the sport throughout Atlantic Canada.
How can you convince parents to hand over their children for training in a facility that is leaking and unhealthy? Somehow, the organizers and coaches have been able to do it. Maybe they can sell ice to an Eskimo.
The new gigs at the Pepsi Centre annex is completely ideal. It is high and large, all the room in the world to expand the program for whatever elements of the sport they’d like. Awesome fit.
There is one problem. This is not what the annex was intended to be. It comes at a significant cost to anybody else who were using the facility or had their sights set on it. With gymnastics equipment taking up a large portion of the multi-purpose gym, it limits the space left for indoor soccer and volleyball – the current user groups.
The week after the announcement, it became clear that hosting a 30-team under-16 volleyball tournament was now going to be a problem. I hope everybody is indeed working as hard to resolve the issue as we have been led to believe.
So, the overwhelming thought throughout the basketball community, is that the sport must be grown outside the school system. The annex is the ideal place to begin recreational leagues and skill development for youth. Does this move by Saltos prohibit any progression of this becoming a reality? All appearances are it would. However, it’s going to take a community effort to get the ball rolling on that initiative first, before a complaint can even be considered.
If hope is the word of the day, I would also hope this is indeed a short-term fix. I am not sure how short-term it can be. Nobody is going to snap their fingers and a pile of money falls into the lap of the gymnastics club. The purse strings of the city are not going to magically open. The cost of the required facility is only going to continue to rise.
I fear the Pepsi Centre annex may become the permanent home of the gymnastics club. They certainly have to have one, and nobody can blame that group for bettering themselves. The agreement is until September. No miracle resolve will happen then.
This is a great story of cooperation and assistance, but it comes at a cost. Again with the hope, I hope the cost is not too much in the end.