Male gymnast finds success on a one man team

By Maarten Van-Genabeek
Published: March 2010

“I lost everything and yet, I won everything junior Carlos Morales said at the end of his Boys’ Gymnastics season.

It was a tough season for Morales because, unlike other sports teams, he was the only member of the team.

Despite his hard work in recruiting members for the team, no one wanted to join.

“I didn’t understand that out of hundreds of guys at NSHS, not one wanted, besides me, to join gymnastics, he said. “I also felt as if my efforts to recruit people had been wasted.

This setback did not affect Carlos, as he continued with the season, competing and practicing as normal.

He practiced every day as hard as he could, sharing a gym and equipment with North’s Gymnastics team.

“What I enjoyed the most was doing my routines on the pommel horse, floor, and vault, he said of his season. “I improved greatly this year, so I’m proud of that.

Morales’ passion for gymnastics began in his freshman year. Searching for a sport to play, he was intrigued by gymnastics.

“Since December 2007, I just wanted to join a sport that seemed cool so after a bit of searching, I found the Newton gymnastics team and joined it, Morales said.

In recent years, South’s Boys’ Gymnastics team has combined with North’s Gymnastics squad due to lack of participants from both schools, but this year the partnership wasn’t renewed, leaving Morales the lone memeber of the Lion’s most unknown team.

“Newton North had enough people, 12, to make its own team this year. Also [South Athletic Director Scott] Perrin and [Newton North Athletic Director Tom] Giusti forgot to reinstate the coop contract this year. When both of those things happened, I had three options: join the NSHS Girls’ [Gymnastics] team, quit, or the option I chose: become my own team, Morales said.

As a one man team, Morales had all the responsibility of organizing practices and meets, as well as recruitment.

He talked to Perrin regularly to help brainstorm ideas to add people to the team.

“I put up fliers, told people, held a J-Block meeting, and made an announcement over the loudspeakers during an Advisory, even though I didn’t manage to recruit anyone, he said.

Despite his failed efforts Morales, through determination, persisted through the season, flying solo, and finished a notably successful season.

Because of a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rule, North’s coach was not allowed to be mentor Morales as a coach.

The key influence in Morales’s success was his coach, who was also his father. When the North-South collaboration was terminated, the South team was left without a coach, so Morales’ dad stepped in to fill the void.

“My coach [and father] supported me through the entire season, Morales said. “In order for me to pratice he had to show to practice every day.

“I’m happy to say he came to every practice. He always told me to do my best, and that’s what I did.

Morales’ endeavors were finally rewarded on Sports Awards Night.

Perrin annouced that Morales had won the Sportmanship award. Morales collected his prize and an earned standing ovation from parents, faculty, and students alike.

“It felt great to win an important award such as that one. When I accepted it at the awards ceremony, I felt like I had been finally noticed for my work as a one man team, Morales said.

He felt that the award was an important step for the program because his recognized exertion will hopefully help promote the team and facilitate recruitment for next season.

“I plan to use [the Sportsmanship award] to promote the team with the hope that it will convince people to join, he said. “That award gave me the recognition I needed to do that. Who knows? Maybe people now will say yes to gymnastics next year because I won [the award].

Morales is not bitter towards Newton North; he is grateful for their support.

“[The Newton North] Gymnastics team [treated] me as one of its own teammates, he said.

Hopefully, Morales will be able to consider South students as his teammates next winter.

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