Ibukunoluwa Adedeji, this name means Blessing of the Lord. IB, you are
a blessing from the Lord.
IB, I still remember the very first day that you came to me and I was able
to teach you gymnastics. I remember telling your parents that I saw
something different in you. I witnessed and believed in your talent and the
opportunities and gifts God gave to you. You started as a Jumping Bean, grew
in to a Tumble Bee and ended as a Bee Elite Gymnast. As a friend and athlete
you inspired me to grow and become a better coach. You were one of the
founding fathers of my gymnastics club. You are mature beyond your years
and wise. Your smile brightens up every room you walk into. You have forever
changed me as a person, a coach and a friend. Although we had so many plans
together I know your work here has been done.
In the 15 years I have been coaching gymnastics I will never forget
when you were 5 years old and I was coaching the Jumping Beans. I would
teach other children and watch you watching me teach them. It was as if you
were on a secret mission to pay attention and learn. It almost became a joke
that I would teach someone and you’d try to figure out what I was teaching
them so you could get it quicker. Your focus, dedication and perseverance for
the sport of gymnastics was profound and like none other. When people
would doubt you and I, we stood by each other and we had faith that we
would figure out the challenge together before us. As a young coach, you had
faith in me and believed in me as I believed in you.
IB your humble spirit will never be forgotten in my heart. This year at
nationals when you messed up on your tumbling pass we laughed about it
together and said there will be next year. One of your competitors that did
poorly and started crying needed to be consoled and you went over to him
and told him it would be ok. You gave him a hug and said there is always
next year. Your kind, humble heart and that smile that you have will always
have a powerful touch in all of our hearts.
This year we were going level 10 and next year Elite. I guess God had
other plans for you and now you are Heavenly Elite with the father.
IB, you were the team leader at the gym. Your smile and faith brings
peace to our team.
IB I have so many memories of our time together. I loved the simple
memories and your humbleness. At Nationals this year you said there is only
ONE IB and let me tell you, that is VERY true!
IB, my life motto is to Bee the difference in each person’s life. I have
taught that to you and all the children at the gym. What is so humbling to me
is that you IB were a HUGE difference in my life and I can see that you were
the difference and touched many people’s lives. So from now on, at all the
practices you will never have to do pushups because you get a “Bee the
Difference” get pass Go, pushup free card. =)
I would like to share what is inscribed on the tomb of Sir Christomer
Wren. “If you require a monument, look around you."
As I give a challenge to all my athletes at my gym, I ask them at most
practices who’s life they made a difference in this week.
I want to challenge each and every one of you. How can you carry on
IB’s memory and Bee the difference in someone’s life today.
IB, you are a monument and everyone in this room will look and see
their monuments right next to them. You reminded me every day I was
blessed in coaching you that you were a blessing. One day at the gym you
told me that you were an Incredible Blessing and I was laughing because I
didn’t expect someone so humble as you to say something like that and I
didn’t realize at the time that your name actually meant that. I can tell you
this much IB. You are an Incredible Blessing.
I will miss your hugs every day I saw you but I know you will be
cheering us on from heaven.
As IB’s coach I have 3 challenges that I know IB would agree with me
The 1st is from the Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him; and He will direct your
The 2nd challenge is that when you come to visit me at my gym, each
and everyone of you, you must report to me how you were the difference in
someone’s life. Because if you do not, you will get 10 pushups! =)
The 3rd challenge is I want each and everyone of you to look at each
other now and in memory of IB tell each other how much of a blessing that
person next to you is. Because you are sitting next to your own monument in
your life now!
One quick explanation. Many of you might wonder what “Thumbs up
ailerons up,” means that IB and I always did at practices and in one of his
last videos I had made of him that is in the memorial video.
As a pilot you always do a preflight check to make sure that the control
surfaces of the aircraft are functioning correctly before you take off. One test
a pilot does is as they turn the Yoke (steering weal) to the left your thumbs
point to the left and that ailerons should be pointing up and when you turn
the yoke to the right your thumbs point to the right and your right aileron
should be pointing up. I explained this to IB a while ago and ever since after
he would get his new skills I would say, “Thumbs up Ailerons up.” And he
would do this………. With his thumbs. This was our fun way of checking with
each other to make sure everything was good.
So for IB can we all do it together? I will say thumbs up ailerons up and
you all do this………..and say thumbs up ailerons up.
Everything will be ok even though we all feel the pain of his going
home. It will be a struggle but whenever the thoughts of pain come inside of
us lets look to our left and right and remember the monuments that are
currently beside us now.
I thought I was IB’s coach but IB coached me! We love you IB and
thank you for giving us your smile! One last honor I would like to give IB is a
final gymnastics Salute with one arm up. Could all the gymnasts in the room
stand up with me and salute IB one last time!
With love your coach,