I was on hand Friday night as the No. 7 Mizzou gymnastics team lost a close match to No. 9 Iowa State, 196.175-195.875
On the Apparatus
-Bunny Schwartzman and Jodie Heinicka really stood out for the Tigers. Schwartzman took home event titles in the balance beam and the floor exercise while Heinicka posted the best score of the night on the uneven parallel bars.
-I don't know much about how to score gymnastics, but I don't see how Whitney Cramer doesn't win the floor exercise every time. She competes with an energy that is fun to watch and gets WAY up in the air on her tumbling runs. Like I said, I have no idea how to score these things, but I was impressed.
-Sometimes these girls make it look so easy that you forget how amazingly skilled they actually are. To me, the most impressive athletic move of the evening was made by Ashley Khederian and it happened when she made a rare mistake. When mounting the parallel bars, she missed the grab and went flying past the bars. If this happened to someone like me, I'd end up 10 feet away on my face. But Khederian managed to complete a flip in mid-air despite the miss and land on the thicker mat. Now that is athleticism.
Crazed Mizzou Fan Notes
-An impressive crowd turned out for Friday's meet with more than 1,000 spectators on hand.
-Super Fan Larry assumed his usual post next to the vault before the match and really helped get the crowd excited.
-Several student groups had made elaborate signs to support the gymnasts as part of the Adopt a Gymnast program. Very classy.
Seen and Heard in the Stands
-I got the impression that heckling is generally discouraged at these events, so I was able to keep quiet for most of the evening. Still, that didn't keep this exchange from happening quietly in the stands while ISU was on the beam, clinging to a tiny lead:
Me: Come on, fall. I'm looking for a Greg Louganis here. Come on, pull a Louganis.
My buddy 'Nidas: What's your point? Do you want her to fall and hit her head or do you want her to become a homosexual?
-Best cheer of the night goes to the MU Ultimate Frisbee team for serenading Nikki Bowman with a redition of "Hey Nikki, you're so fine, you're so fine, you blow mind my mind, hey Nikki."
-Observing some hefty members of the ISU team, my friend 'Nidas chimes in with this: "I don't think this is fair... some of those aren't girls, they look more like thoroughbreads. Seriously, look at their legs."
Irritating/pleasant Athletic Department Decisions
No irritating notes here because the AD actually seems to have this one figured out.
-The Gymnastics Fantastics is a great program because students will do most anything for a free t-shirt.
-The Adopt a Gymnast program also seems to have increased attendance.
-Throwing t-shirts into the stands is a great way to build spirit... and the key is that here (unlike basketball games) they do it BETWEEN events. 'Nidas came away with a shirt while attending his first-ever Mizzou sporting event.
-Having the team enter the arena through a cloud of golden smoke looks very cool. My only question is why we haven't gone to this for basketball or football.
Probably Being Heard Around the Water Cooler This Morning...
-"Well, at least the gymnastics team managed to lose by less than 15. They could teach the basketball team a thing or two."