Written by: Lesieli Savelio
Southern Adventist University’s gymnastics team, Gym-Masters, is set to have its annual home show this weekend at Iles P.E. Center. According to Coach Richard Schwarz, the event will have two showings, one on Saturday, April 9, at 9 p.m., and another on Sunday, April 10, at 2:30 p.m.
This year, the team’s theme is “Finish Strong” based on Hebrews 12:1: “… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
“We are all invited to be part of the race of life, and the finish line is Heaven,” Schwarz said.
Team members have found both spiritual and physical meaning in the theme. Girls’ captain and senior health science major Mariana Velasquez said the end of a race is often the hardest part, and it is important to finish strong.
“‘Finish Strong’ to me means never giving up and being faithful all the way through the end,” Velasquez said. “Just like it takes discipline and determination to finish strong in a race, it also takes these qualities to finish strong in our spiritual race.”
The theme is also fitting for this chapter of Gym-Masters history as this is Schwarz’s last year with the team and his final home show.
With this being Schwarz’s last hurrah, the pressure is on for the team. Velasquez said she feels both nervous and excited about the event.
Team member and sophomore nursing major Shannon Bradshaw said the team wants to do its best in honoring Schwarz with the event.
“As this will be coach’s final home show, we are all working hard to give the best possible final performance,” Bradshaw said. “He will be missed immensely, and we are so grateful for his many years of dedication to Adventist gymnastics.”
The team has been dedicated in its preparation for the event, according to Velasquez. She said gymnasts practice two hours a day, four days a week, and sometimes team members practice for longer than two hours.
“Practice consists of lots of reps of moves in group routines as well as time for working on individual routines,” Velasquez said.
Bradshaw said, for the team, home show is the highlight of the year.
“We have been building towards this all year,” Bradshaw said, “and this is where the many hours of hard work will pay off.”
More than anything, Gym-Masters’ purpose is to be a ministry for God, according to Velasquez.
“Coach always starts our practices with worship time and emphasizes that we want to show God’s character and love through our gymnastics, ” Velasquez said. “I am looking forward to this year’s home show and being able to share God’s message through our program.”