By Stan Silliman
Florida Gymnasts Drywalled
Two gymnastic coaches in Florida face criminal charges for disciplining their students with drywall screws. Drywall screws, as in those sharp little screws with big biting threads that make you go eeeewwww just looking at them, much less picking one up.
Apparently, students were told to “stick it” and when they didn’t …
Gymnastics is physically grueling enough, come on. Imagine doing the splits, but not well enough and then, as punishment, having your skin split. I’ve seen gymnastics coaches press down on a student who was trying to make the split but wasn’t split all the way but I was pretty sure the coach I saw didn’t have little screws lined up between his fingers.
These kids taking classes at Ace Gymnastics in Longwood, Florida were getting the screws put to them and we say this literally by coaches Mike Turner and Chris Bonn. Turner, which is a terribly inappropriate name, when talking about the application of screws as a torture method, admits to using this technique over eight years. The other coach, Bonn, said Turner did it to him when he was a student so he kept up the practice when he became a coach.
The owners of the gym are Ray and Joan Gnat, and although they claim to have not been fully aware of the practices of Turner and Bonn, you have to think they were. And although it’s a shame, for me to say this, there’s a good chance the Gnats are going to get swatted.
Their website touts Ace Gymnastics as a place “where all children excel” with the words “or else” crossed out. At least that’s the way the sheriff’s investigators are presenting the case. The Gnats plan to call in Bobby Knight just to show their torture methods were not that much over-the-top.
One of the mothers complained, after finding her child with puncture wounds in the buttocks, that Turner and Bonn were using unsafe torture technique, documenting that instead of using brand new fresh drywall screws on each student they went from student to student with the same screw. Bonn tried reasoning with the mother explaining the sharp price increases in drywall products but to no avail.
Like we said, we think the Gnats will be swatted, and Turner and Bonn will get screwed, figuratively and also, whenever they get to prison. As far as the Ace Gymnastics website, it needs to be updated. Different slogans are probably more appropriate. Like maybe:
“At Ace Gymnastics, when you fall off the horse… it hurts!!”
“At Ace Gymnastics, when we say ‘No Pain… No… No we never say no pain.’”
“At Ace, for a career after gymnastics… in the construction field.”
“Come to Ace. We’ve trained at Guantanamo.”
“Ace Gymnastics, not affiliated with Ace Hardware, except we’re good customers.”
If Ace does happen to use one of the above slogans (we like number 5 the best), we’ll charge nothing. It’s the least we can do.
2405 Wilcox Drive
Norman, OK 73069
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