Students tumble for health at Buffalo Grove Gymnastics Center
Teri Crumley is the owner of Buffalo Grove Gymnastics Center. | Joe Cyganowski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 11:59AM
BUFFALO GROVE — Living life on the edge of one’s seat has health benefits.
The owner of one of the northwest suburbs’ leading gymnastics studios reaps those benefits in the following way: She always sits on the front of her chair, which brings her lower abdominal muscles into use.
Teri Crumley, one of the three owners of Buffalo Grove Gymnastics Center, has plenty of top-of-the-head health nuggets to share and she argues for tumbling as the most useful sport ever invented.
“All aspects of mind and body are used, which is very different from most sports,” she said.
What keeps Crumley in the business, though, is seeing gymnastics lead to improvements in confidence, physical fitness or mental alertness for young students.
“It’s that thrill of helping them learn, helping them accomplish something that they’re working toward,” Crumley said. “And that look on their face. It’s that feeling of ‘I did it.’”
Crumley, her husband, Kelly, and their partner Gregg Didech founded BGGC, 1362 Barclay Boulevard, in 1992. The club now serves about 1,600 students with a full-time staff of 13 and a part-time staff of 20 in an 18,000-square-foot studio that features all the equipment needed for every Olympic competition, plus a trampoline and a variety of dance instructions.
The staff is divided into two camps: One teaches recreational gymnastics to the vast majority of participants born with an average talent or commitment level; the other trains the physically and mentally gifted for national competitions.
BGGC is part of USA Gymnastics and has sent a handful of alumni to world championships.
It also sends its competitive squads to meets around the country and hosts one of its own — The Hawaiian Pineapple Classic — every December at the Schaumburg Convention Center. That event brought in BGGC’s largest crowd yet in 2012 (around 2,100 athletes).
Mike Califf, who manages the studio with his wife, Jeannie, said they never expected a tournament with such an odd title to become so well-known.
“It was just a joke,” Califf said of the name. “It was just boys at Stevenson (High School).”
The gym has yet to produce the one athlete that will bring it the highest level of recognition — an Olympian. Do Didech and the Crumleys thirst for that rare mix of talent and dedication to emerge from their student body?
“Not anymore,” Teri Crumley answered. “There’s more to life than being that one person.”
To her and the studio’s two other owners, what is most important in life is teaching as many as possible the benefits of gymnastics. BGGC’s students range in age from 6-month-olds — whose parents bring them to the center to learn crawling, gripping and bopping rhythmically to music — to high school seniors.
Before kids know how to walk, the staff is preparing them to fly.