Courtesy of Isabella Fitz-Gerald
Calabasas High School senior Isabella Fitz-Gerald has been a gymnast since she was three years old. Growing up playing multiple sports, she fully committed to her passion when she joined the Matrix Gymnastics team in Chatsworth at nine years old. At such a young age, gymnastics took up most of her time and energy. Over time, Fitz-Gerald became more dedicated and more successful.
Along her journey, she has faced the difficulty of managing school work while participating in a sport that requires extreme dedication. Her schedule is composed mostly of practice and competitions, with little time set aside for homework. Fitz-Gerald’s desire to develop her skills conflicts with time spent studying, but she is aware of what is necessary in order for her to continue her career after high school.
“At an early age I learned the valuable skill of being proactive and staying on top of assignments,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I also learned that I had to miss out on a lot of school activities and hanging out with friends, but I know it is all for the end goal of competing in college.”
Another obstacle Fitz-Gerald faces is being involved with a sport that is not affiliated with CHS. Socially, high school can be challenging for many, especially if a student spends most of their time on an extracurricular activity. However, Fitz-Gerald is fortunate to have close friends both at school and on her team.
“Honestly, I feel like it is good I do not go to school with my teammates because we would literally see each other all day every day,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I have definitely made best friends for life because of this sport and I couldn’t be more appreciative of them.”
Although Fitz-Gerald is a stellar gymnast, she does not get the recognition she deserves because she does not represent Calabasas’ athletics. High school gymnastics programs are uncommon, resulting in few students being aware of her excellence.
“I don’t play for the school. I don’t play for a club,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I understand why they don’t publicize athletes that are a part of a club team, but it would be nice to be recognized because I am a student-athlete that attends Calabasas High.”
With her recent commitment of UC Davis for gymnastics, she is likely to receive more praise. After visiting the school multiple times to attend summer clinics and for an official visit, she made the decision with complete confidence. Despite the difficulty of the recruiting process for gymnasts, Fitz-Gerald was heavily pursued and offered a place on the team as a walk-on.
“The campus was great as well as the coaching staff and gymnasts on the team,” said Fitz-Gerald. “I knew this was where I wanted to spend the next four years and continue my education.”
Fitz-Gerald looks forward to doing what she loves at the collegiate level for the next four years. She is confident the team can count on her to hit her routines in competition and contribute to strong seasons. Her work ethic will remain strong and she will use the knowledge she has obtained regarding the sport and the lessons she has learned in her journey to do such.
“I’m not going to lie it takes a lot to be a competitive gymnast,” said Fitz-Gerald. “You dedicate all your time into this one thing and push yourself to succeed and sometimes you do and other times you don’t.”