SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 43: It’s All About The Children

Susan – dedicated gymnastics instructor since 1979

I am so enjoying the red gym mats, somewhere on the North side of Pierce College. It’s Friday night gymnastics class for my girl. After 42 days of 365 wandering, I think it is only fair I steal an hour to chill.

But full chill it cannot be, with 365 pulling at me, I decide to multi task and settle in at this colorful base camp with my mobile office.

To prove that I am as honest as Abe, I ask my wife to take a few snap shots to document my situation.

Even though she is fried from the week and preferring to focus the lens on a much better subject, our daughter. She agrees, seeing that there may be the possibility of a home evening without sharing me with the laptop.

My leisure is not a manifestation of laziness, rather a moment of realization. “Realization of what?” you ask. For years my daughter has, on and off, been participating in Pierce College Extensions Gymnastic Programs. Usually my wife as her companion. But this evening, I tag along and upon arrival this though enters my mind, “I have never really introduced myself to Susan, the program’s director.”

With this brain wave as my motivator, I roll up my sleeve’s and commit, over my purchase of fundraising cookies, to invite her to be my days featured friend.

We have a brief conversation and she expresses one stipulation, “I am about to teach, can we take the photo after class.”

“No worries, I’m glad to wait.”

For the past hour and a half, I’ve been writing a little, relaxing a little and chatting with another new friend, co-father of future athletes, Arney.

It’s now 8:28pm, Class ending in a couple of minutes and the gymnasium will be clear soon, got to go. Off to make our photos…

Susan teaching my daughter

I’m back, 10:41pm, so much for the computer free evening at home. Wife is in the other room getting our exercise and cookie pumped kid to sleep. Got to love them for allowing me this time to report.

Since 1979, Susan has been involved with training youth in gymnastics. Reserved, focused and committed to service are the definitions that come to my mind in telling you of her character.

What impresses me greatly, “she speaks nothing of herself.” I ask my usual questions, expecting to hear thoughts of personal outlook and goals. What I get are wonderfully selfless responses, all emphasizing the importance of the program she is directing. Yet, she is not speaking of herself, she is speaking of community.

“This is a non-profit, a nice place to work, so kids without lots of money can have the opportunity to take gymnastics. Our classes are for the community,” Susan’ s response to “what words would you like to share with my readers?”

The is no boasting in her message, no grand persona, just a comfortable consistency in her countenance. “Susan is a rock star of a coach!”

She truly puts her students first, and after watching her coaching style tonight, I can honestly say, “all she desires is to see the kids succeed.”

After we finish our interview, gym empty, I ask once again,  “are you sure you don’t have any words of wisdom to impart to my readers?

In perfect Susan style, again about the kids, “Parents need to let me do what I do, especially with the very young children. Sometimes there is a little disorderly conduct. I just go with it a real them back in. You give a little, you receive a lot. So parents, please let me do what I do.”

I’ll throw it in my perspective, “if you enroll in Pierce Gymnastics with Susan at the wheel: Sit back, relax, let her do her job. Trust me she’s got your back.”

Susan, you’ve got my family vote of approval.

Her final words, “these kids inspire me, when the kids succeed, I succeed.”

Amen to that!