A pause is commonly a time for reflection.
Whereas this can be true in a wide range of totally different settings, it’s most actually the case for the YMCA Sudbury Salto Gymnastics Membership.
The mixture of the present pandemic in addition to the challenges dealing with the Sudbury YMCA, residence to the native group because the early Nineteen Eighties, has compelled the Saltos to place their tools in storage — at the least in the intervening time.
It’s a break within the motion that Bob Simon would somewhat not take, although at age 72 and considerably much less spry than he was on the time he based the membership, backing away from his 40-year involvement is one thing that he knew was coming, pandemic or no pandemic.
First catching a glimpse of the game via the chief corps on the Y in his youth, Simon quickly turned his consideration to teaching.
“I simply needed to go in and assist the youngsters out,” he mentioned. “At the moment, there was actually no concept of a aggressive membership; I used to be in serving to out with the rec program.”
The presence of Bob Simon is clearly synonymous with the Sudbury Saltos within the eyes of most native gymnastics of us, but so too is the venue that has served as host, albeit in two totally different areas, over time.
“It’s all the time been part of the Y — I insisted on it,” mentioned Simon. “That’s the place I grew up, as a youngster, and I needed to go it on. And at the least among the children that we have been getting couldn’t afford to go to the larger golf equipment. For these children, and others that would not decide to the heavy obligation aggressive schedules, this gave them an opportunity to study gymnastics.”
In fact, coping with a constructing that was clearly exhibiting its age simply as the brand new membership was being launched required some pondering on the fly.
“The previous YMCA (on Lloyd Avenue) was a little bit of a problem,” laughed Simon. “Every time we had a rain storm, we needed to go and put buckets across the gymnasium the place the roof was leaking.
“We didn’t (initially) have all of our tools. The women would throw a mat down the place they have been going to do tumbling, however the remaining was on naked ground. We regularly labored in direction of getting tools.”
By his personal admission, Simon was not a aggressive gymnast. But from a modest curiosity, one which opened the door to a life-long ardour with teaching, emerged a dedication to enhance, each personally, in addition to from the standpoint of the general Salto program.
“I had met a dance teacher out at a provincial park one time and he or she had talked about the Y was on the lookout for somebody to assist out,” mentioned Simon. “I acquired there and there was no coach, simply children. However I discovered gymnastics fascinating and difficult. I took some programs, acquired my certification and a few years later, we joined the OGF (Ontario Gymnastics Federation, now Gymnastics Ontario).”
Retired from Inco following greater than 31 years with the Sudbury mining large, Simon was studying about extra than simply technical gymnastic talent growth.
“Coping with younger folks, you understand actually fast that it’s not simply the athletic abilities they need to study, you need to assist mould the individual, work with them psychologically and emotionally.
“As a result of I used to be a little bit of an delinquent clown, I needed to discover ways to try this. I could possibly be robust on them, however they all the time knew that I cared.”
The early relationships reside on to at the present time.
From co-coach Pete Grozdanovic, who got here up with the title of Sudbury Salto, to Della Reid, now Campbell — “We pulled her out of the pool, simply 13 years previous, and he or she got here up and was instructing me” — and on to present males’s head coach, Dean Dion, whose mom, Pat, presided over the mother and father’ committee for a lot of a 12 months, Simon has crossed many a path.
Because the membership halted coaching in March, Dean Dion was nonetheless at his facet.
“I grew to become a gymnast, nearly by likelihood,” he admitted. “My sister, who’s one 12 months older than me, was doing gymnastics at Sudbury Secondary with the Sudbury Elites. One Saturday, that they had a few athletes on the town from Toronto, guys who have been with the nationwide group. They did some routines and I used to be hooked — I used to be 12.”
Coming into his first competitors after simply 5 weeks of coaching, Dion progressed to the purpose of capturing gold at a provincial championship, earlier than his profession was reduce quick on account of a shattered ankle when he was struck by a automotive. One 12 months of heart-wrenching introspection finally gave method to a return to the game, climbing aboard as a coach.
Partially, his motivation lay in a perception within the fundamentals of the coach-athlete relationship, one which he had clearly skilled from the opposite facet of the desk previous to starting to mentor younger gymnasts of his personal.
“Our philosophy on teaching is totally different,” he mentioned. “It wasn’t about push, push, push.
“Bob and I and the opposite coaches weren’t about to push each athlete to make them an incredible gymnast. You watch, you discover those that present the curiosity, and run with it.”
Not that this got here on the exclusion of others. Quite, it was extra of an acceptance that not all athletes are pushed with Olympic desires. Actually, the overwhelming majority should not — a actuality that smacked Dion within the face, even again in his days as a participant.
“I keep in mind after I was a aggressive gymnast, and the group of boys I used to be with, 5 – 6 different rivals, they didn’t have the identical drive that I did. I understood that. I wasn’t going to push any of them, at that time, as a gymnast, and I made a decision that’s not what I used to be going to do as a coach, both.”
Nonetheless, the long run is an unsure one for the Sudbury Saltos. In the meanwhile, the nice emotions stem from recollections of the previous.
“We constructed one thing good for the youngsters — that’s what I began out to do,” Bob Simon mentioned. “I needed to provide the youngsters one thing to be happy with.”
Randy Pascal is That Sudbury Sports activities Man and a contract author for The Sudbury Star.