It's always amazing to think about how many sporting events take place at UGA each week. But what most people don't realize is how many people it takes to make those events run smoothly, and how much time and energy is put into making sure our student-athletes and coaches are able to do their jobs without having to worry about any of the behind-the-scenes details. We're lucky here at Georgia to have some of the best and hardest working folks in the business, whether they've been here 30 years or 30 days. Everyone's role is important and together we're able to help our teams compete at the highest level each and every day.
One of the most striking examples of this, however, and something that doesn't get near the amount of attention it deserves is something I'll refer to as The Great Transformation. Ever stop to think about the fact that less than 24 after the Gym Dogs are through competing in Stegeman Coliseum, there are often basketball games? Or vice versa? There have been times when it had to go from basketball to gymnastics to basketball in a 3-day span, and the process of converting the building from one set-up to the other is amazing.
After last Friday night's gymnastics meet vs. UCLA, we had the chance to catch up with facility manager Melvin Robinson, who spearheads The Great Transformation, and explained a little bit of the process that he and his crew go through dozens of times each winter/spring.
Robinson said his staff about 15-20 people usually take between 3 1/2 - 4 hours to both break down one set-up and assemble the other.
"It's longer going from basketball to gymnastics because we have to make sure everything is right," Robinson explained. "[Assistant gymnastics coach] Doug [McAvinn] helps with making sure everything is set up properly, that the measurements are right, the weights are right, so that way takes a little more time. It's closer to four hours when we have to go that direction."
"We just get in here, tear it all apart. Tonight, we'll move all the equipment, bring the rims back out, clean the floor. We're more efficient and effective with the process now, and I really enjoy it. I like to get after it, work hard and see the end result."
Robinson said he learned the set-up and break-down process from others on his staff who had been doing it before he got here, and once you watch it happen a few times you get it.
Next time you watch a Gym Dogs meet and come back that same weekend to see a basketball game, don't forget to think about how that was possible!!