Each Wednesday the Stanford men’s gymnastics team will post a childhood photo of a current gymnast on their Facebook and Twitter pages asking, “Can you name this gymnast?” The identity of the gymnast will be revealed on Thursday along with a special Q-and-A, giving fans a chance to get to know the gymnasts before the 2014 season.
This week’s featured gymnast is senior Cale Robinson. The Harriman, Tenn., native discusses the team’s fall training, his favorite memories so far and what he enjoys doing outside the gym.
How has the year been going so far in the gym?
So far, so good! Everyone is working hard and has a one track mind of what we want to accomplish this year. We all came in with the same mentality and that can definitely be seen in the gym day-in and day-out. From the seniors down to the freshmen, we're all fighting for the five spots in each of the lineups, even now. That's only going to make us better come April and it's exciting to see that push and urgency this early in the year.
What are your expectations for the team this year, both short-term and long-term?
For the short-term, my expectation is that we continue with the same urgency and high standard that we've set for ourselves. This will pay big dividends at the end of the year and is necessary for us to get where we want to be. Our long-term goal and expectation is the same as always, to win a national championship for Stanford!
Any personal goals you’d like to accomplish this year?
My only personal goals for the year are to make it through an entire season healthy so that I can help contribute on the competition floor to the team at NCAAs. Due to injury, I haven't been able to compete at an NCAA Championships yet and it's my dream to be competing on the night of Team Finals for my team and Stanford.
What do you look forward to most this season?
I can't wait to get the opportunity to compete again. It's my senior year and I want to soak in every moment and take advantage of every opportunity. I also couldn't imagine going through this year without my two best friends, Sean Senters and Chris Turner, by my side. We've been waiting a long time for this year and we are beyond excited.
Being one of the veteran members of the team, is there any advice you try to give the younger gymnasts?
I think the biggest advice that myself and the other captain, Paul Hichwa, give the younger guys is to "stick with the numbers and trust the training." The training adjustment from club gymnastics to college gymnastics can be quite hard and demanding. Our conditioning is much more rigorous, the number of half routines and routines are much higher, and there is a different level of efficiency that is expected. At times the younger guys feel that they're struggling and that they're not going to make it through the training that is expected. Having been through this ourselves, we know that it is only going to get better and that we're actually going to come out on the other side of the training feeling much better and confident in our gymnastics. The coaches have a very detailed and thought out system that is proven and works. We put our trust in that program and know that the work will pay off in the end.
Now that you’re a senior, what advice would “Senior Cale” give to “Freshman Cale” if you had the chance?
Senior Cale would advise Freshman Cale to try and segment his life more. Freshman year I would find myself constantly overwhelmed, always thinking about school, gym, my social life, missing my family, etcetera. Now I take the approach of separating my life a little more. I learned that when I'm in class I can't simultaneously be thinking about what's going on with gym, and vice versa. I enter the gym and try to forget everything else that's going on outside of that place. For some people this doesn't work and they feel that they have to be thinking about everything at once to make sure they stay on top of all their responsibilities, but I've found segmenting works best for me.
Is there a special or unique moment you have experienced with the Stanford gymnastics team? What was it and why was it so special or unique?
I have two memories that stand out the most in my mind. The first is winning the 2011 National Championships with my team as a freshman. Not only did we win the national championship, but we were also Stanford's 100th national championship. This moment will forever be something that stands out in my mind.
My second unique experience was getting to travel with the entire team to Norway for ten days during spring break last year. We had often times heard that teams form a unique and close bond when they get the opportunity to travel abroad and this was definitely true for us. Although we may not necessarily all mesh perfectly outside of the gym, we were able to bond and connect during our time there and being around each other 24/7. It was an incredible experience and I think it's truly what led to us coming together and having the finish that we did at the end of the year. (*Third at the NCAA Championships.)
Outside of the gym, what do you like doing with your free time?
This year I am living in a house on campus called 717. It's absolutely incredible and climbing toward the top of my "Best Stanford Experiences" list. Sean, Chris, one other roommate, and I all live in a quad (one room with four people) and although that may not seem ideal at first, it has been great. Additionally, the other people in the house are becoming some of my best friends and we're having all kinds of great experiences together. So far this year we've gone chocolate tasting and to an Ethiopian dinner. So other than hanging out at my new house, I also enjoy coaching gymnastics (what I want to do as a profession), diving, watching television, and reading a good book.
What are your favorite television shows? Any recommendations?
Based off the reactions I get from most people, I think I have somewhat of an odd taste in television shows. A lot of the shows I watch I used to watch with my mom and they make me think of home. With that being said, my favorite shows are Grey's Anatomy, the Biggest Loser, and Modern Family. My house has also recently gotten into Amish Mafia and Ancient Aliens, which are both quite amusing because of their ridiculousness.
Anything else you’d like to add about the upcoming season?
The only other thing I can think of is that we want lots of people at our competitions! We always love a large, loud crowd, and we hope that more people find their way to our meets this year.