It doesn’t take much to regain perspective sometimes. Alabama gymnastics coach Dana Duckworth received a text message from a friend not long after last week’s meet, which saw the Crimson Tide post its second-lowest score of the season, and thought it was so powerful. It was just the reminder she needed and the perfect one to share with the team.
The message read: Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s part of success.
No. 8 Arkansas at No. 10 Alabama
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 2-2; Arkansas 1-3
TV: SEC Network+
“These women are capable of more than what we displayed (last) Friday against Missouri,” Duckworth said. “I think that’s the part that you either use to let doubt creep in or you use to rise to the occasion.”
That next occasion is this Friday in Coleman Coliseum against Arkansas. It will be Alabama’s fourth-consecutive SEC meet this season and Arkansas’s fifth. Both teams are coming off home wins, but while Alabama earned the 195.85 most recently, Arkansas posted a season-high 197.175.
The Razorbacks moved up from being ranked 10th in the nation to eighth. The Crimson Tide dropped from seventh to 10th. Arkansas’s average is 0.106 stronger than Alabama’s.
“We just need to keep building our confidence because I know this team has so much potential,” UA junior Abby Armbrecht said. “If we compete the way we practice, we’re going to be great.”
Up until last week’s setback, the Crimson Tide had been slowly but surely increasing its all-around score each week. The highest mark Alabama has reached so far this season was a 196.725.
Not a single meet has gone by without some sort of hiccup. There have been last-minute lineup changes due to both injuries and illnesses. Every member of the 15-person roster has now competed.
Adversity makes the team stronger, but the thought of a seamless meet hints at Alabama’s true capabilities.
“It’s almost like we’re hungry, you know?” freshman Lexi Graber said. “We know how good we are and we know how hard we’re pushing ourselves in the gym. We’re just so excited to finally let people see it.”
Time for a change of pace, too.
This week’s showdown is Alabama’s 14th annual Power of Pink meet in Coleman Coliseum. Instead of the gymnasts being announced during pre-meet introductions, a breast cancer survivor will be recognized. The Crimson Tide has never lost in this special type of competition, boasting a perfect 26-0 home and away record in pink leotards that dates back to 2005.
“Sometimes, we’ll worry about things and stress about things,” Armbrecht said. “When this meet comes, it’s just like we have so little to worry about. Let’s just do this for someone else.”
That’s the thing. No worries. No stress. Duckworth put an extra emphasis on focus this week.
But not on any failures.
“You make a mistake, it’s over,” Duckworth said. “It’s done. The next second is more important.”