GREETINGS FROM THE OWNERS

Here’s a little bit about us – two stories that become one!

Rod’s Story:

“I love the sport of gymnastics because of the many benefits it affords young children. Gymnastics quickly develops a young girl’s entire body (upper and lower), while also inspiring her to develop the character and confidence to hold her head high wherever life leads her.” ~Rod Rogers

I was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas but later moved to Boston, Massachusetts with my family before settling in St. Louis, MO. In St. Louis, I attended Affton High School where I was heavily involved in sports and lettered in both Varsity Football and Wrestling. One of my favorite high school coaches was Coach Merrill Rogers (who later became a principal and whose name was bestowed on the Rogers Middle School).  I experienced his ‘tough love’ first hand and flourished under his strict, but caring discipline. As a former military Drill Sergeant, Coach Rogers embodied the values of honor, pride and courage, and he used his military experience to keep the students and student athletes of Affton High

School in line.

I attended Southeast Missouri State College in Cape Girardeau as a Freshman and Sophomore, and then transferred to what is now called Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where I earned my BS in Education and lettered in Wrestling. I continued my education and earned my Masters of Education in Exercise Physiology at University of Missouri Columbia.

Can I do a cartwheel? Yes! Can I do it well? Not so much! So how did a wrestler/football player come to own a gymnastics club? I owe it all to Chic Johnson, my favorite teacher at Southwest Missouri (now MSU). Dr. Johnson was the head gymnastics coach for Southwest’s gymnastics team. He taught a gymnastics theory class, which became instrumental

in my path to becoming a gymnastics coach.

My first job out of college was as a Physical Education teacher at Bernard Elementary School, where I launched a highly successful school gymnastics program – growing it from just a few students to over several hundred. I taught at Bernard for 8-years before starting St. Louis Spirits Gymnastics Club (originally opened as St. Louis County Gymnastics Club).

In addition to having taught school and owning Spirits, I have always been a coach at heart. Each summer, I teach another new batch of team kids to water ski on our day trips. While my sons, Mike and Matt, were growing up, I coached them in wrestling – until I needed to stop once they got big enough hurt ol’ dad! To this day I still love to coach, and I now look forward to the grandchildren enjoying the gym, just as so many of Spirits former class and team gymnasts bring their own children and now grandchildren to Spirits to train!

Kris’ Story:

“My parents and the gym were the most consistent and influential parts of my life. We strive to have our gym be a positive influence in the lives of all of the children we teach each and every day – just like Seagulls did for me.” ~Kris Rogers

It all started when I was 9 years old. My dad took me to a gymnastics exhibition given by a local gymnastics club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I was completely awed by the girls doing aerial cartwheels. I enrolled in gymnastics primarily because I wanted to learn how to do one (which I did)! To this day, my favorite skill to watch is an aerial walkover done correctly, especially on the balance beam.

I joined Jonathan’s Living Seagull’s and was coached primarily by John Tobler, Todd Throne and Kevin Scott. My coaches were amazing! My mom drove me 45-minutes each way just to get me to practice every day. Thanks mom! In the summers, we would be at the gym from 7:00 am-9:00 pm. We ran, practiced, conditioned (10 sets of 5 back handsprings anyone?), ate, danced, swam, practiced again (double backs on tramp while locked elbows with your best friend are the awesome!) and went home (or to a teammates house) to crash just to begin it all again the next day.

The coaches and kids at the gym were like my second family. We moved many times in the four years I was a Seagull, but one thing remained the same – my gym. It was an amazing place filled with unbridled energy and enthusiasm for the sport. To this day, I would love to duplicate the atmosphere, and try my best, but I realize it was something special and truly unique.

I moved to Carmel, Indiana where I continued to compete in gymnastics, winning State Championships and Regional awards until I graduated from high school. I earned my BS degree in Business from Indiana University, and served as a marketing and public relations intern with Oscar Mayer for a year as a goodwill ambassador, a Hotdogger, and a Wienermobile driver.

Eventually I found myself back in the gym coaching. I was home once again. I found that as much as I loved coaching a team, I had a real passion for preschool gymnastics. I eventually became the Manager and Pre-school Director of Carmel Academy of Gymnastics (a gym where I had competed for 5 years).

And then I met Rod. My new home became St. Louis and my new gym home St. Louis Spirits.

Together – Kris and Rod Rogers

Since being together, we have merged our passions for team and classes along with our shared dedication to teaching. We love to be at the gym; spend time with our children (Mike, Matt, Grace & Cordi) and our grandchildren (Lucas, Sophia, Zoe and Emma); enjoy the company of staff (our extended family and friends); read, exercise, boat, live, love and laugh.

 

Warmly,

Rod, Kris, Grace, Cordi & all of us here at Spirits