Editor’s note: The Deseret News received this letter ahead of Utah gymnastics’ regular-season finale against Utah State and prior to the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA gymnastics season.
How do you go about telling a story that was a lifetime in the making? Even if you shorten the time frame to say, an athlete’s four years in college, how do you put into words the impact and meaning of a collegiate career? That is the challenge every single year come senior night. This year, rather than making an ill-fated attempt, I decided to let the gymnasts speak for themselves.
Here is what Utah senior Missy Reinstadtler had to say.
“When I flew across the country four years ago to move from New Jersey to Salt Lake City, I thought I had life figured out. Fast forward four years and I can honestly say I have grown in ways I did not know I could, and being a part of Utah gymnastics has been the main reason why. From day 1, Tom (Farden) and Megan (Marsden) held me to a higher standard than I ever had been held to before, which called for an adjustment period that got extremely difficult at times.
“Gymnastics has always been my biggest joy and my biggest pain. It is the source of my highest highs and lowest lows. But no matter how much physical, or even emotional pain this sport may have caused at times, it has given me a purpose.” — Missy Reinstadtler
Despite some of those struggles, I was determined to better myself and prove — to myself mostly — that I was better than what I showed within my first year here at Utah. My sophomore year I was a consistent all-arounder and an NCAA All-American, so I suppose looking at stats alone you could say I did that. However, while I am extremely proud of those accomplishments, when I look back on my career and my growth, I don’t marvel at the numbers on the stat sheet, but at how my standards in life have changed.
If you asked me when I first stepped on campus what my goals were for my college career, I would say things like “All-American status” or “NCAA champion” and those of course are still goals. But if you asked me now what I am most proud of, my All-American status or Pac-12 champions ring would not be alone on that list. I take pride in being the best teammate I can be. I take pride in my work ethic. I take pride in trying to be a good example, for not only any Utah gymnast that come after me, but for anyone that I cross paths with. I take pride in everything I have been a part of over the past four years in and out of the gym.
So basically what I am saying is I owe who I am today to this program. This legacy has helped me come closer to my full potential. Even if I don’t accomplish all that I wanted to from an individual gymnastics career standpoint, I can look back and say I gave everything I could for my team, my education, my future and myself. The list of people that helped me over my college career is too long to list, so I just want to give a thank you to every single person that has been a part of this incredible journey.
So many people have impacted my life in so many ways, but I do need to give a special thank you to a few people. The first being my athletic trainer, Katie Lorens. I cannot put all that she has done for me over the years into one sentence, but trust me it is a lot. So I am just going to leave it at thanks for keeping me in one piece; literally and figuratively.
The second is for all my coaches over the past four years, but specifically Tom. Mainly for taking the chance on a kid that could hardly get through a bar routine at the time, but also for supporting me in all aspects of my career year after year. Last is for all of my teammates. Every single one of them has helped make every hard day just a little bit easier. They push me forward and help me up when I fall. They truly are my motivation. One of Tom’s favorite sayings is “No one gets through this world alone,” and every day I see that become more true.
Gymnastics has always been my biggest joy and my biggest pain. It is the source of my highest highs and lowest lows. But no matter how much physical, or even emotional pain this sport may have caused at times, it has given me a purpose. It has given me memories that I will always reflect on with pure joy and happiness. It has given me an everlasting community that I will always be a part of. It has given me teammates that I will forever consider my family. It has given me my life as I know it, and for that, I will always be thankful.”