Dear Parents, Coaches, & Gymnasts,
On behalf of Erie Gymnastics & Team Lightning Boosters, we wish to thank you all for attending the 2015 Stars & Stripes. We take great pride in hosting this competition and try to be the best Meet Hosts that we can.
In taking on what has grown into the Largest Coed Competition in PA, and one of the largest in the US, there are so many things that factor into the competition. If your club has hosted big competitions, you somewhat understand. If you haven't, there are so many things that go on in the background that you often don't see.
An average Flight (1 Competition) takes approximately 25 volunteers / workers to run. This includes entering scores, timing events, organizing awards, runners.... Each flight - start to finish takes about 5 hours for those volunteers to be
Official Photographer of Stars & Stripes 15
During the Stars & Stripes, Action Shots took pictures of your favorite athlete in Action. Click the image above to check out photos of your favorite gymnast!
Stars & Stripes 2015 Scores
Stars & Stripes 2015 Scores
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Over the weekend, there was a lot of media coverage on the Meet. Obviously most focuses on Team Lightning, but many other gyms & teams are on film. Links are provided on the various stories. A big thanks to the Erie Sports Commission!
Support for Soldiers Fund - currently somewhere over $6,000.00 dollars! To learn more, see pics, help out... Pittsburgh Inn or like them on facebook
there. With running 2 flights simultaneously, that's 50 volunteers for 9 flights (18 separate competitions) equaling 450 - 5 hour shifts put in by our parents. That's not including set-up and tear-down (another 100 shifts) nor organizational work that occurs well before the meet (that is impossible to calculate).
So, I wish to thank them all for their hard work & efforts! We are a small/medium size club, so the average parent put in at least 4 shifts throughout the weekend. Like the Cobra, it spreads its neck wide to look much bigger than it really is, so are our Parents. So again, I wish to thank them, and if I typed out all of their names and what they did, this would take another 3 pages. So, I won't do that to you - the reader, but I do wish to thank them so much for their excellent efforts.
Each year we try to improve the meet. This year many things improved dramatically and the meet ran seamlessly with only a few kinks along the way. Still, we wish to improve those kinks and as is our nature in gymnastics... a 9.50 is great, but we strive for the Perfect 10.00!
* Meet flow, spacing, venue, hotels... all went well. So we will keep those things the same.
* Coaches, I agree - we need better food. It's a long weekend, and we need better nutrition. This will change for next year.
* Awards Ceremonies were way too long. Over the weekend there were over 4,000 medals to hand out and lots of names to read. We like going 50% deep with awards - especially with the younger athletes, so there are a lot of names to call and awards to hand out. Still though, our announcers need to pick up the pace a bit. We wanted the kids & parents not to feel like cattle and be allowed to bask in their medals for a bit, but yes - they were too long. After sitting and watching the meet for 4 hours, you're hungry tired, and want to get to the Restaurant, Hotel, or on the way back home. Feedback from this was duly noted and we will cut back on any side entertainment, shorten speeches, and speed up the whole process.
* I wish to thank the Judges. They judged 1,400 routines over the weekend and did so expeditiously. Every session but 2 ran under time, and that was pretty good! However for those 2 flights that were later than expected, I will take partial blame.
1. Parents like to know times and dates very early so they can schedule off of work and make plans to attend. As a result, we are pretty quick at getting this out. We typically have flights posted more than 1 month out. However, we are very excited over the "Coed" and are very hard to trying to build the Men's portion of the Competition. With that said, I had a bunch of teams request (far after our deadline) to get in the meet or add additional athletes. So, after times were published this portion of the competition grew dramatically. I probably should have said "NO!", but I didn't. I think 3 flights would have done better than 2 flights, and that we will do next year - or more. However I will insist that we have all entries by the date that I post times.
2. I will also add that the Scoring errors for the Men's Flight - were not the direct fault of our Scorers, nor Score keepers. Essentially what happened is that 'proper protocol' for any scoring changes typically is signed by the judges and sent to the score keeper as a "score adjustment". Since we take scores seriously and the gymnasts work so hard to get those scores, we have a 'double check' system in place. Essentially scores were adjusted directly at the events which differed from the initial score and the judges signed score sheets, and thus were overrode. I am not sure the Judges realized this. They were not present at awards to verify this, and it is difficult to just take a "Parent / Gymnast / Coaches" word on result changes that vary from the Judges official sheet. It took a bit to sort out, so sorry for that one. We will certainly insist on signed sheets and verification prior to awards for next year. It is very difficult to hand a child an award, allow them to get their picture taken, and then take it away from them because of a mistake.
* So, for next year, we hope these changes will bring us closer to a 10.00 performance. However we are very proud of overall how well the Stars & Stripes 2015 went this year, and hope you are too!
I also wish to thank the various Military, Fire, Police, Rescue Heroes who donated their time over the weekend for the various awards ceremonies! I thank the National Anthem Singers who were also fantastic!
We also wish to thank the generosity of YOU (the entire Gymnastics Community) toward our cause this year. It typically takes 2 weeks or so to tally & settle with the Convention Center after the event. But, thus far we've collected $4,400.00 dollars toward the "Support for Soldiers Fund" by the Pittsburgh Inn. We estimate our club will add an additional 2-3 thousand contribution to that number. This means we will be mailing at least 400 Care Packages to our Soldiers overseas. That is awesome.
Robin Weunski called to express her deep gratitude to all of you to the point of tears. She thanks you from the bottom of her heart! We are actually going to plan a day where our gymnasts are going to go over and help pack and label boxes with her. It should be fun! But, we thank you for your generous donations toward that cause! You folks are awesome!
Once again, on behalf of our entire organization we thank you so much for attending this year and hope to see you all next year!