Let's be honest: LSU fans live up to the old joke about there only being three seasons in the SEC: football season, football recruiting season, and spring football. We love all our Tigers, but the smaller sports have to fight for every little bit of recognition.
Well, there's a championship team on campus, competing right now in these winter months. And most importantly, the team is a total blast to watch. There is no team on campus more fun to watch right now than our women's gymnastics team.
There's nothing more irritating than a "sports broccoli" argument: that you should be watching something because it's good for you. I'm a big soccer fan, but American soccer fans are notorious for this argument, and it's a total turnoff. So, I'm not going to tell you should be watching, especially if you have a young daughter who could use a few positive sports role models. That's true, by the way, but that's not the reason to watch.
The reason to watch is that this team is great, and winning is pretty damn fun. Rheagan Courville has an individual national title under her belt, making her the most successful athlete currently on LSU's campus. She's only a junior, so she has a few more chances to win even more national titles, maybe even the elusive team title.
I know that you think you don't like gymnastics. I thought that, too, until I actually watched a gymnastics meet. It's a shame that the national TV coverage of gymnastics so thoroughly guts the sport of pretty much everything that makes it interesting, but meets are intense as hell. And the SEC is so stacked with talented teams, every rotation is pressure packed. The difference in a tenth of a point can be the difference.
Look, I love football, but not every single play in a football game has nearly the same level of meaning as every single time a gymnast steps on the mat. Sure, you can throw out the lowest score, but after that, there really is no margin for error. One bad event by one gymnast can doom a team's chances. You can bounce back from a bad play in football. You really can't in gymnastics. If you don't love that kind of pressure and intensity, then you're not a sports fan.
This weekend, the gym team opened up the season with a score of 197.200. That marks the first time in team history an LSU team has ever opened the season with a score above 197. To put this in perspective, LSU scored a 197.050 at the Super Six last spring and Florida won the national title with a score of 197.375.
The 197.200 score moves LSU into the #2 slot in the national poll. Gymnastics rankings are not some subjective measure like in the other sports, it is an average of a team's scoring. This means LSU had the second-highest score in the nation to kick off the season. That's the good news. The bad news is Oklahoma scored a 197.700. That's a high bar to clear.
This is exactly where the team wants to be right now. The team still needs to improve, but not by much. They are already throwing up scores that would qualify them for the Super Six, and they are doing it in their opening meet against Centenary.
Getting through the long football offseason usually means cheering like hell for the baseball team. And yes, the baseball team looks like a national title contender again. However, they still might not be the best team on LSU's campus.
*Poseur's Note: Yes, this means I'm going to make a concerted effort to cover the gymnastics team this year despite knowing next to nothing about the sport. I apologize in advance for my general ignorance, but I'm learning. I'm also real excited about this team and hanging another banner in the PMAC. So jump on the bandwagon now, there's plenty of room.