There are many opportunities for the most active of Brandeis students to engage in physical activities, but there is nothing quite like having the chance to be a part of the one and only Brandeis Gymnastics club. The Hoot sat down with the club’s vice president and social media chair Ella Majeski ‘26 to learn more about the experience of being a Brandeis gymnast.
Brandeis Gymnastics offers a wide variety of engaging activities to interested students. Their practices occur three times per week, giving student gymnasts the perfect opportunity to refine some of their gymnastic skills off campus. “Students of all skill levels can come,” says Majeski. “Some come to just jump on the trampoline … some students participate in competitions.” Additionally, the club holds smaller events, such as watch parties for gymnastics competitions and fundraisers.
A typical practice for Majeski begins after taking a 15-minute drive to a local gymnasium. “I warm up my body and stretch, and I choose whatever event I want to do that day. I try to hit two to three events per practice.” In gymnastics, an event represents the different categories gymnasts can participate in, such as the balance beam, the vault, or floor exercises. Majeski notes how much she enjoys the flexibility of practice, explaining her level of effort and seriousness “really varies on the time of year” as well as the competition schedule. “I like that … you get to make your own workouts and set your own pace. You are the person that knows your own body the best.” Though there is a coach present to help during practice, Majeski has never felt stressed or overloaded. Rather, she feels a strong sense of support among her and her teammates.
Competitions are both an extremely fun and unifying aspect of the club. “We have regionals at MIT and nationals at different destinations each year. Last year was Memphis [Tennessee], and this year will be in Albuquerque [New Mexico].” Though their competitions are one of their most exciting events, it has been a challenge for Majeski and her team to spread the word. “We wanted to do a lot more on the recruitment side of things,” Majeski states. “There were only four people that came with us to nationals last year.” Ultimately, it is their goal to “strengthen the team and have more diverse [gymnastic] levels,” and the team has made efforts to engage more of the student body as well as promote the competitive aspect of the club.
In fact, competitions are Majeski’s favorite part of being a gymnast at Brandeis. She reflects on her experience being on a team in high school versus now. “I feel like being in a club in high school, the competitions were a lot more of a toxic environment … I feel like I put so much more pressure on myself to do better.” In contrast to this stressful environment, the college level offers a much more “loving environment” where Majeski feels “a lot more supported mentally.” “I like the flexibility and overall atmosphere of the competitions now more than I did in high school,” says Majeski. Brandeis is a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs, whose motto is “For the Love of the Sport.” To Majeski, this means that above all else, gymnastics is about supporting one another’s love for the activity. “You can have people 40 to 50 years old, women compete in men’s gym events, men can compete in women’s gym events.”
Along with competitions, Brandeis Gymnastics plans a number of smaller events and fundraisers to host throughout the year. “We just had our world championships part which was very fun … outside of that, our biggest fundraiser is called Flips for Tips.” In this fundraising campaign, the club raises money to not only support their own needs, but also donates half their profits to a charity of their choice. “People pay us to do cool flips on the grass!” Majeski says.
“If our fundraiser goes well, we want to get better uniforms and have more competitions available,” Majeski states. She hopes to create a “fun atmosphere” and get potential gymnasts excited about joining and participating, which can prove to be difficult due to budget cuts this semester. Majeski has also had to deal with other obstacles besides acquiring funds and club promotion. “A natural part of the sport is making sure your body is healthy. I just got injured,” she says. “The main [challenge of] being currently injured is not giving up on my positions given that I can’t practice right now. There’s a lot I can give to the club besides practicing.”
On the whole, Majeski is optimistic about the future of Brandeis Gymnastics. Along with the rest of her team, she hopes to expand the club’s reach and create an even bigger and stronger community. She truly believes that Brandeis takes NAIGC’s motto to heart: Brandeis Gymnastics exists For the Love of the Sport! If you want to become a part of a team of motivated athletes, meet them at Gosman Sports Center at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays!