NR 3rd-grader finds his niche in surprising sport
ALSO FOR BOYS — Eric Arvis of New Richland has reaped the benefits of gymnastics instruction and inspired many other area boys to join the sport. (Star Eagle photo by Kathy Paulsen)
By KATHY PAULSEN
Impressed by the gymnastics at the Summer Olympics? One can only marvel at the abilities of these young people who have dedicated so many hours of training, many from early childhood.
Entertaining to be sure, but it is much more than that. The training, discipline and commitment to the sport is fantastic as they work muscles, learn balance, and work on timing, all important for health benefits.
Most people think gymnastics is a thing that girls do, but after a few boys learned there were boys in our area attending the gymnastic class offered at the Waseca Gymnastics Center, a few more boys wanted to attend a class.
A big reason why is nine-year-old Eric Arvis of New Richland, who’s been involved with gymnastics in Waseca for at least four years.
“Eric is to get the credit for more boys joining the gymnastics class,” said coach Scott Young. “For the first couple of years, Eric was the only boy.”
A boys-only beginners gymnastics program, called "Boys Dynamos" had 22 boys sign up this summer, double the number of boys in the program last year. About 30 boys participated along with the girls in the summer K-12 program this year. Fifteen to 20 participated in the pre-kindergarten summer classes, all increases from previoius years.
They now have enough boys to have a team that will take part in some events this upcoming year.
There is also a fitness class, "Power Gym," for those who don't want to do gymnastics.
The local team from Waseca will compete under the Minnesota Amateur Gymnastics Assocation, and they are expecting to participate in about three or four meets during the season, which runs from April to May. The team also hopes to be able to participate in a two-day girls' tournament that Waseca hosts each February.
As for Arvis, his involvement with gymnastics has helped with his motor skills enough so that he was able to test out of DAPE, a special education physical education program our local school district offers.
Eric says practicing the sport is a lot of fun, but he has also gained confidence and self-esteem too.
Eric was very interested in watching a great deal of the Olympic gymnastic coverage on television, and hopes that he may be able to be on TV someday too.
Eric likes to work on the bars, especially the type that are above the pit; as well as does flips, cartwheels and handstands. He went to gymnastic camp this summer for five hours a day for four days and is very excited about being able to take part competitions.
Eric’s mother, Christina, said she and Eric have made many, many, many trips to Waseca so Eric can take part in gymnastics, but she is happy Eric has found something he enjoys doing and can be proud of.