UCLA Gymnastics: Building Another Championship Season
April 8, 2011
By Lauren Seligman
7. SEVEN days from today the Bruins will enter the Wolstein Center in Cleveland Ohio to compete for the 2011 NCAA Gymnastics Title. It's been a long road since preseason, which started in September just over SEVEN months ago. The SEVEN that's on everybody's mind is the 7th NCAA title that the UCLA gymnastics program has the opportunity to bring home. With this title, UCLA would add its 107th NCAA crown to the trophy wall!
At the beginning of the season, UCLA Gymnastics was ranked #1. Having only lost four routines from last season's championship-winning team, the Bruin roster seemed to have all of the ingredients to repeat. But, in sport as in life, nothing is ever easy. Early in the Fall, UCLA's top scorer Vanessa Zamarripa tore her Achilles tendon, the first of a handful of setbacks for the Bruins. Three surgeries and numerous injuries later, the Bruins are on the eve of competing on the NCAA stage. What keeps them together through the good, the bad, and even the ugly? It's their overwhelming sense of Team Spirit.
Coach Wooden defined Team Spirit as "an eagerness to sacrifice personal interests for the team's well-being." Because teams are interdependent, individuals must practice consideration, respect, and dignity for one another. In other words, team spirit is the cohesive force that can keep a team together through thick and thin so that they can overcome any obstacles they face along their journey.
Despite the adversity the team has faced this year, they haven't let anything bring them down. An outsider looking at this year's team would never realize their full roster wasn't competing. Instead of getting discouraged, the team stepped up their game and kept a strong focus on their goals. Their team spirit never faltered, and as a result they were able to continue to improve and have a good season despite unfavorable odds. Last weekend's meet at Regionals was a testimony to the work the Bruins did as a TEAM this season, not only winning their region but earning the highest Regional score in the country. They continue their championship quest next week as the second-seeded team entering the NCAA Championships. You can follow them on uclabruins.com and ncaa.com as they defend their national title.
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