“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This quote sprung to my mind, not just because of the festive season, but also the parallels it presents when thinking about what gymnastics means to people. On my travels I often ask this and am met with a multitude of reasons, but most refer to the specific gymnastic activity directly relating to the person answering. I am mindful that the value proposition to a member or participant in gymnastics must have a significant tangible element to it, but what if, gymnastics…..perhaps……means a little bit more.
To your organisation, gymnastics doesn’t just mean a little bit more, it means a whole lot more – in fact, it means everything! The projects, tasks, initiatives and developments that are engaged each year by the Gymnastics NZ team are as numerous as they are diverse. They are all intended to strengthen the value proposition but are not always applicable to all. To that end, the view of the Grinch, as articulated above, is a timely reminder when you are reflecting on why gymnastics is for you. What you are getting out of gymnastics may not always be as obvious, or direct, as you think.
Amongst the multitude of work driven either directly by the organisation, or by you through club input in to the Regional Action Plans, there are a number that align with the Grinch’s view that I would highlight. The national database system has been a significant piece of work in 2018 – both for us, and you. It is a legacy piece and is pioneering amongst NZ national sporting organisations in uniquely combining a class-management option that can be connected to a national database.
I know some of you have had issues during the on-boarding process but I commend you in sticking with it, and working with ourselves and Friendly Manager to resolve the issues and drive positive change to the system. Whilst some of this is on-going, the system on a whole is working well and we are getting many positive reports as to the administrative and process benefits it is bringing to clubs. It will be of tremendous value to our stakeholders in providing insights that can inform sport policy not just within the gymnastics community, but in a national sense as well.
Project 2020 is another legacy piece that has so many more strategic elements, than merely shifting the date of our National Championships. Gym for All is the foundation to our sport, and allowing us the space and time in the calendar to promote opportunities and initiatives that will service this significant portion of our community, can only be a good thing. I know some of you are concerned about the implications of this project for you directly, but again I urge you to think like the Grinch and appreciate that it means so much more to so many more people. If you have attended a TeamGym or Tumbling event in the last year then you will know what I mean. These programs are about providing an alternative pathway to the traditional gymnastic lens of competitive that will benefit us all in the long run.
At the recently held FIG Congress in Azerbaijan, the formation of the Oceania Gymnastics Union was confirmed and we are now officially the ‘fifth ring’ of the gymnastics Olympic family. This is a tremendous moment for the region and will lead to many gymnastic benefits that will ‘mean a little bit more’ to many of our neighbours who aspire to experience some of what we, already take for granted. Whilst many people have been involved in its inception, I would commend your Chair of the Board, Dr Denis Mowbray who has dedicated a significant portion of his life over the last few years to negotiating the regional and political landscapes, to reach this significant development.
So, take the Grinch’s Christmas spirit, share it with your friends, family – and maybe even the odd stranger! I wish you a safe and enjoyable festive season and will see you in 2019 for another great year of gymnastics.
CEO Gymnastics NZ