Not a ton of people know this, but I asked Gerald for a job at Elite right out of high school. I wasn't particularly excited about going to college and I knew I loved being at the gym, so it made sense to me to just stick around.
Gerald's exact response was "No. Go to college and if you still want a job when you graduate then come back and I'll hire you".
So that's what I did.
I went to Kansas State University in the Fall of 2010 with no plans whatsoever. I had zero interest in anything specific, so eventually I settled on majoring in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Pre-Physical Therapy. I wasn't particularly passionate about this endeavor, but everyone I asked told me that seemed like a good fit and I didn't have any better ideas so I just went with it.
Fast forward three years later, and it came time to fill out my application for PT school. I remember sitting there, halfway through filling out this insanely long application and thinking "Why am I doing this?"... and in that exact moment I deleted my application and never looked at it again. Moving on from that felt right and even though I had no other plans for after graduation, I knew PT school wasn't going to be it.
I started working for Elite the day after college graduation. I had negative dollars in my bank account and took on as many classes as I could. I taught rec classes and had my first experience coaching team when Gerald and I coached the Xcel Bronze and Silvers together.
A few months later I took over the Special Events Department and that was when I basically moved in to the gym. I taught every class I could and spent every single weekend supervising birthday parties and other special events. I was working well over 40 hours a week by the time I took over the Competitive Team Coordinator position. I started entering kids into meets, setting schedules, and running our home meet alongside all my other responsibilities and somehow I thought that wasn't enough?
That must be the case, because a year and a half after starting at Elite I decided to go back to school. I wasn't happy where I was at, so on a whim I filled out an application to a 2 year, Physical Therapist Assistant program and a couple weeks later I was accepted.
Now, I was under the impression that this meant I would stop working at Elite as soon as the 2016-2017 season was over. I even told Gerald I was done.
Somehow though, big changes started happening and I ended up staying on. I left my house sometimes by 6 am and didn't get home until 8:30 or 9 (sometimes even 11 or 12) every night for 2 years. During my clinical rotations I worked full time at the therapy clinic or rehab hospital and then came straight to the gym to work or coach all night. Thankfully I had some really great co workers that helped me out as much as they could!
Right in the middle of all this, Gerald and I realized I had been acting as General Manager for some time. I refused the title until I graduated school in December 2017, but at that point it had been almost a year since I had taken on those responsibilities.
In January, 2018 I passed my board exam and became a licensed Physical Therapist
Assistant and officially added "General Manager" behind my name as well. Helping run the gym has been fun, exciting, and so so hard (but actually being here full time and not having to worry about tests or homework or working with patients makes it SO MUCH EASIER). I work PRN as a PTA a few times a month, but I spend most of my time at Elite.
I came to Elite over 18 years ago as an 8 year old girl just doing rec gymnastics for fun, and yet it somehow led to a full blown career as Sierra Trussell, General Manager. It is so crazy to me that this very nearly didn't happen, and if things had turned out the way I thought they would, I wouldn't know any of these kids or any of the wonderful families I've gotten to know over the last 4 years. This place means so much to me and I am so thankful to have ended up back home.