Call them chips off the old block. That’s a great way to describe the accomplishments of two athletically inclined Wellington sisters — Kayla and Nicole Gumula.
While both girls are avid, enthusiastic and accomplished athletes, they definitely wouldn’t be where they are today without the support of their parents, Wellington residents Charlie and Jeannette Gumula.
Kayla, 20, plays soccer for Guilford College in North Carolina. While a student at Wellington High School, she played soccer and flag football. Nicole, 17, plays varsity basketball and softball at Wellington High School, as well as travel softball. Both girls have picked up a few of their dad’s athletic genes. Charlie, 56, is a 1987 graduate of Maryville College in Tennessee, where he played soccer, baseball and tennis. They also have their dad’s (and mom’s) emotional and financial support.
That support and physical presence at practices and games that Charlie has provided over the years to Kayla and Nicole is highlighted in the March/April issue of Team Insight magazine (www.teaminsightmag.com), a national business publication which reports on the trends and tendencies impacting the sporting goods industry.
While the issue focuses on girls and women in sports, one of the special sections focuses on the role that fathers play in the athletic lives of their daughters. Charlie Gumula was one of five fathers selected as part of this highlight.
Each father was asked a series of sports-related questions, as they apply to their daughters. Each father gave frank and honest answers to each question.
When asked which person in the family makes sports equipment purchasing decisions and who pays for it, Charlie didn’t hesitate to tell it like it is.
“I have paid for most of the girls’ sports equipment, and my wife will purchase some items,” he said. “I am more into sports than she is and have more knowledge than her regarding the equipment. I currently make most of the purchases.”
When asked how hard or easy has it been over the years to buy equipment and apparel for his daughters, Charlie noted the high degree of difficulty of getting what they want and need for a price they can afford.
“We have found that it is difficult to get some footwear,” Charlie said. “My daughter, Kayla, usually gets men’s cleats due to there being more options available. Nicole has gotten most of the items she needs, but sometimes we need to wait for deals or utilize coupons because some of the equipment is expensive. Many times, due to the cost of equipment, we would have to wait until the next year to purchase something or buy a year-old model.”
When asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 what grade would he give to manufacturers for the products he has purchased for his daughters and the sports they play, Charlie gave them high praise.
“I would give most companies a 9 for their products,” he said. “Most of the time they last a good amount of time and the quality is good. The only downside is that sometimes there is a lack of variety and sizes, and they can be expensive.”
Charlie had a final message of appreciation for the companies that make sports gear, footwear, apparel and equipment.
“Thank you for making quality gear, but I would love to see more variety of coloring and size,” he said. “Please try to make the prices more realistic. I would love to see all children be able to participate in sports regardless of their financial status. There have been times when my kids have been to tryouts and feel they can’t compete with other kids because their parents can’t afford the new and best equipment. Even though she may be the better athlete, the equipment sometimes will play a role on how an individual will perform.”
Both Kayla and Nicole spoke highly of their father’s role in their athletic careers.
“Our dad has been to almost every game he can, and after every game, we talk about the things we did well and what we should work on improving,” they said. “He has coached us since we were little in soccer, softball, basketball, dance and flag football. When it comes to the products, he is good at the basics. For example, for softball, he knows jerseys, pants, socks, gloves, bats, face masks and cleats, but as girls, we like to wear sliders and certain belts, undershirts, etc. For soccer, he knew that we needed cleats, jerseys, shorts, socks and shin guards, but he didn’t know about sliders and pre-wrap. He knows most things, but as we get older, there are extra things we need.”