Q&A: Ms. Myra Lolkema, English

Ms.+Myra+Lolkema+poses+on+the+bleachers+of+the+new+gymnasium.+This+season%2C+the+girls+gymnastic+team+achieved+a+new+school+record.+

Ms. Myra Lolkema poses on the bleachers of the new gymnasium. This season, the girls gymnastic team achieved a new school record.

Tori Wilkes

Q: How has the season gone so far?

A: The girls have had a fantastic season. They have improved so much and they have set wonderful goals for themselves. They’ve worked really hard. We’ve seen a lot of improvements in scores and even our team score. The girls this past week against Laporte had their highest team score in the history of Lake Central Gymnastics, so that was an extremely exciting night for them and it really shows them that the hard work really does pay off.

Q: How did it feel when they broke the team record?

A: It was an emotional night altogether. We had a lot of stuff happen in one night. It was really exciting. I knew they could do it, but I think for me it was just seeing their faces and them finally knowing that they can do it. As a coach, you can know that your team can score a certain score, but until they do it themselves and realize it, that’s the cool moment.              

Q: What’s their biggest strength as a team?

A: I wouldn’t even equate their strength to an event, I would say their biggest strength is how hard they work. They are one dedicated group of girls. They work together, they work hard, they push themselves and that is really their biggest strength. At the end of the day, I saw this on a poster at the gym. It says, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” and that really describes those girls.

Q: How many seniors do you have? How’s it going to feel when they graduate?

A: We have two and our manager is also a senior. Both the seniors have done a great job. They both work hard and they both push their teammates to work hard. Megan Gora, she’s a tremendous athlete. She’s worked so hard, she got injured [and] she’s pushed herself. I’m definitely going to miss both of them and I’m going to miss having Gora around and telling her to do a skill and her just do it and it look fantastic. I’m going to miss all of those little things.

Q: How often do you practice?

A: We practice five days a week at Midwest and we practice from 2:45-4:45 [p.m.].

Q: What’s your overall goal for the season?

A: The goal is just to do well and to continually improve. You don’t want to be in the same place you were in in November when you’re in the postseason and you’re at Sectionals. I want to be able for the girls to look back and say look how much hard work we put in, look how much better we’ve gotten, look at all the skills that we’ve gained and as a coach I really can’t be more proud of my girls when they’re able to walk away and say I achieved those goals; I did better than I was doing in November, and they’re able to look forward to next season and say this is what I want to do now.

Q: How long have you been coaching gymnastics here?

A: This is my ninth year. Ask me nine years ago if I planned on coaching gymnastics for nine years and I probably would’ve been like, ‘What?’ I feel like I’ll keep doing it for as long as I’m able to and the girls really drive me. There’s probably been years when I’ve thought I was going to be done, and this is my last year. I swear every year the girls just win me over and it’s hard to say goodbye to them. Who knows, I could be 60 and still coaching gymnastics here, you never know.

Q: Did you do gymnastics in high school?

A: I did not, I was actually a cheerleader. When I came here I wanted to be an assistant cheerleading coach and they had actually already filled that position. But the athletic director asked me how I felt about gymnastics and asked if I was willing to take that on. I went to Crown Point and trained with them for a couple months. I learned the ins and outs of high school gymnastics and the rest is history.

Q: How does this season compare to other seasons?

A: The past seasons we’ve gone in saying we really want to beat 100, try to be competitive in the DAC and we have the hardest conference in the state. But this year my mindset wasn’t even let’s break 100. My mindset was we’re going to blow past that. The fact that we hit 102 last week was exactly what I wanted. I felt like breaking 100 wasn’t good enough for them so really that’s what I was looking for this season.

Q: Why do you like coaching gymnastics here?

A: Wednesday night, when I had one of my athletes hurt, [that was] when you realize they’re more than just your athlete and you realize they’re like your kids. All I wanted to do on Wednesday night was hug my girls. That’s why I can’t quit, I just love them so much. As a coach I love those kids more than anything and they all know that.