When Travis Doig and Meghan Lambert-Chesney established a gymnastics club in spring 2008, they envisioned an outlet for students to meet others who shared an interest in the sport and wished to practice those skills during their college career.
“We were just trying to provide a place for ex-gymnasts who did not want to do cheerleading or just wanted to keep up with the sport in a recreational capacity or possibly competitively,” Doig said.
Four years later, Doig, a religion major who left the university in 2009, said he was pleased to hear the club was still active.
Marcus Messamer, a sophomore engineering major and member of TCU’s Gymnastics Club, said he thought the club was a great avenue for people seeking to continue their gymnastics experience.
Messamer, who danced and tumbled in high school, said it was his main motivation to join the club.
The club also aims to teach gymnastics to students who have no previous experience in the sport, Bianca Castro, strategic communication and Spanish double major and president of the TCU Gymnastics Club, said..
“The club is open to any and all students at TCU,” she said. “No experience is required. We get a lot of people with tumbling background or gymnastics background or cheerleading background who want to maintain their skills or just improve upon them. We have people who have never done gymnastics as well. We teach them the basics.”
Mandy Seremet, a senior computer information technology major and co-president of the club, said members are split into two groups, depending on their prior experience in gymnastics. Castro and Seremet coach beginners.
“Yesterday at practice we taught a guy how to do a backflip in one day,” Castro said. “It was really cool,”
Because the university does not have facilities to hold practice on campus, weekly practices are held at Lone Star Gymnastics, 15 minutes away from campus, Castro said.
“We have a carpool system so that students who don’t have cars have a way for transportation and can come as well because classes are off-campus,” she said.
Castro said she wished facilities for the club were available on campus. The convenience of being able to walk to practice would encourage more people to join the club, she said.
However, Castro said she understood not having these facilities on campus.
“It would be nice if they could, but I completely understand why they don’t have it,” Messamer agreed. “It’s a lot of money for just a small group of people.”
The university does not have a gymnastics NCAA team either, Castro said.
Having an NCAA team would benefit the university as well as Texas, she said.
“It would be great because, right now, gymnasts within the Texas region really only have one option, and that [is] Texas Woman’s University,” she said.
Members can compete with other universities’ gymnastics clubs, however, she said.
Although the club has not competed in recent years, members can compete with universities like Texas A&M University and Baylor University during the Texas Gymnastics Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs conference, Seremet said.
“This is the first year that we actually have a few people who are interested in going to competitions,” Seremet said. “Our competition season is in the spring, so we wouldn’t start competing until at least February.”
Outside of practice, the club bonds over dinners, parties and other team-building activities, she said.
“One night after practice or on a different night of the week, we will go out and eat together. We go bowling, or we do something like an end-of-semester party, whether it’s a Christmas party or a summer going-away party,” Seremet said.
Doig said he encouraged students to participate in the club because of the various benefits it offered.
“Gymnastics is one of the best sports for total body workouts,” said Doig, who is now a gymnastics coach at International Gymnastics of Minnesota.
“If you want to be challenged, definitely go out and try it. It’s also a great way to have fun and meet new people,” he said. “It’s an overall good time.”
TCU Gymnastics Club
Membership Fee: $75 per semester
When: Every Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Lone Star Gymnastics, 5228 S. Hulen Street, Fort Worth, TX 76132
or carpool from campus – Meet at Brown-Lupton University Union Archway at 7:30 p.m.