Doug Rose sticks a skill on the rings at United Gymstars and Cheer. Photo by Cory Diaz
Doug Rose sticks a skill on the rings at United Gymstars and Cheer. Photo by Cory Diaz

Area gymnast qualifies for regional meet

Published 6:00am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

While every other gymnast stood behind the normal obstacles at the 2014 Alabama Men’s State Meet in Birmingham March 15, Doug Rose could barely stand.
The 16-year-old from Wetumpka suffered a bone bruise on his right heel on an awkward fall from the high bar at the United Gymstars and Cheer facility, training for the state meet.
“Doug was practicing a skill he’s usually does, he’s been performing for many, many months,” Ken Marcum, Rose’s coach, said. “He ended up falling off, injured his foot on some concrete.”
Not taking the advice of a doctor, Rose competed days later at the state meet. Hobbled but not deterred, Rose took first place in three events and qualified for the regional gymnastics meet later this month in Birmingham.
“My main thing was to go to state and do good, have fun with it even though I was injured,” Rose said. “Some of the events I wanted to compete on, I really couldn’t because of my foot. I can see everything went the right way for state. I didn’t even fall, which was one good thing. I won three titles, pommels, parallel bars and high bar. As I can remember, I am now a two-time state champion on parallel bars.”
Marcum said he wasn’t surprised Rose overcame the injury obstacle to seal a spot in his second regionals. His daily approach, attitude and leadership provided him that confidence in his gymnast.
“Doug, ever since I’ve had him when he was younger, always shows up to practice ready to work, not one to sit around, an excellent leader,” Marcum said. “All the kids respect him.
“Never has a bad attitude. When he’s injured he comes in and tries to find a way to work around it. Very patient, aggressive at time when I need him to be though. Definitely the desirable athlete in what you’re looking for.”
Rose said Marcum and their relationship inspired him to be a leader in the gym.
“My coach inspired me to be one of the main guys to push the little ones to do better,” Rose said. “I would love to be a coach to the little ones because I see a great future in some of them. I just want to do the best I can to help them out and also help me out as well.”
Usually a senior award, the Wetumpka native received the Alabama character award this year. Garnering that award at an earlier age is a testament to all he does for others.
“I really want to not only help myself, but I want to help the younger ones,” Rose said. “I want to also do good and I want to be a leader for them. So far, that’s going good.”
“Doug has a compassion for people that you don’t see very often and the compassion he’s shown towards me, the patience and understanding when I was learning coaching as I was coming along,” Marcum said.
The coach and gymnasts have trained together for the last five years. Over that time, each got glimpses into the others’ personal life and became much more than a coach and gymnast.
“Inside the gym, he’s the coach, but outside the gym he’s like a really good friend,” Rose said of Marcum. “If I need anything, he’ll be there for me. If I have any struggles, anything in my life that I need help with, he’ll be there for me.”
Through the time spent together both in and out of United Gymstars, Marcum said Rose has taught him just as much as he’s taught Rose.
“Doug is somebody that I hold very close to my heart, I’ll definitely keep in touch with him throughout his life,” Marcum said. “I think he’s helped me grow a lot and have patience in my own life. He taught to appreciate things that the average doesn’t have. I look at Doug as if he were a son to me, he’s been there for many things in my life and vice verse for him. It’s definitely a personal relationship beyond what I feel the average coach gets to have with one of his athletes and I’m honored by that.”
Not only does Rose have that strong support from his coach, but relying on his parents helps him as well.
“I believe it’s one of the major key factors, so that when I’m at the meets I know that I have support and I have people that can cheer me on,” Rose said. “As long as I can remember, my dad–he’s a Reverend at Second Missionary Baptist Church–so pretty much when we leave the house, he tells me just to pray before each event.
“(My mom’s) been there ever since I started. She was the person that started taking me to this gym. I’ll come home and thinking about I want to quit, she’ll be there for me. Moms will just be moms. They’ll tell you anything to make you happy.”
Rose said he will continue to push through adversity to achieve his goals at regionals, and beyond.
“I’m going to try to push really hard to do what I want to do for regionals,” he said. “Even with a hurt heel, I can still push on floor and vault.
“My near future I want to attend the University of Michigan or Oklahoma, those are my two favorite teams. If I can’t attend one of those two, I want to go to Stanford. The biggest dream of all of them, and pretty much for everybody, is the Olympics. That’s the dream.”

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