Steps that we and the IHSA could implement to keep boys' gymnastics
- increasing our participation numbers by partnering with club gymnastics programs
There are over 120 gymnastics clubs in Illinois. Many of them have high school-aged boys training with them who attend schools that do not have IHSA Boys Gymnastics teams.
One intriguing upside from our COVID-limited 2021 season was the advent of "virtual meets," where each team competes from their home gym with an IHSA official present to score each routine. We can extend this virtual meet concept so that these club gymnasts can compete as a team, for their high school, but from their club gyms. Their schools wouldn't need any gymnastics equipment and the boys wouldn't have to travel away from their gymnastics club (though they would certainly be welcome to join any head-to-head meets or invites).
Just three boys from the same high school (or, in some cases, from a co-op collection of local schools) can constitute a team.
Even better: they would be eligible to enter the IHSA State Meet as a team and compete for a state championship for their school!
We probably will not be able to recruit enough club gymnasts to get us over the IHSA's 7% threshold by the end of this school year, but we've been assured that just showing growth would be a powerful factor to tilt the scales more in our favor.
2. Special consideration for boys gymnastics' outsized positive impact
The IHSA has been very clear: They want to see better participation numbers AND they want evidence of IHSA Boys Gymnastics having a positive impact.
This is where all of your testimonials, social media, and outreach efforts come in.
And the good news is: We have an extraordinary story to tell. Most of the IHSA Board of Directors do not have any exposure to Boys Gymnastics so they understandably cannot appreciate the life-changing power of high school gymnastics.
We have to help them see what we see.