Boots is ready

by Susan Filkins

He may only be 5 feet tall, but lately sophomore gymnast Dan Boots has earned the title, “Teeny Little Super Guy.”
“Teeny Little Super Guy,” is a cartoon figure from a Sesame Street skit who anonymously appears out of a kitchen cupboard to save the day.
Just like the television character, Boots came from nowhere last weekend to save the Gophers.
Boots was filling in for teammate Bob Hubbard, who was recouping with a heal injury suffered earlier this season. Everything’s big is Texas, it’s said, and Boots, from Pearland, came up very big this day.
Boots performed in four events and recorded two of his best scores ever. On the still rings, he scored a 9.55, and on the horizontal bars Boots kicked in with a 9.45.
It’s no surprise it was the Gophers’ first victory of the season.
“It’s been a bit of a wait for Danny to come around, but certainly he was a big, big help for us on rings and high bar,” Gophers coach Fred Roethlisberger said.
It certainly has been a long time for Boots. Last year, he mostly competed on the rings, although he did see limited action on the horizontal and parallel bars. His performance last weekend was a far cry from last season.
“It was a really tough year all around,” Boots said. “Things didn’t fall into place. It was kind of like every time I got to a new level, I got knocked back down again.”
So when his chance to contribute came up, Boots was ready.
“It was really nice doing more for the team in competition instead of just in workouts,” Boots said. “I didn’t feel like I was really producing and helping the team out a lot last year, but I think things have changed this year.”
Boots said his spot in the lineup is temporary. When Hubbard is ready to return, Boots will happily step aside.
Boots also says his showing did not totally reveal his full potential. It’s hard to tell when “Teeny Little Super Guy” will pop out of that cupboard one more time.
“Hopefully, I will be an all-arounder next year,” he says. “If not next year, my senior year. That is the only goal I have right now.”

Note: The No. 12 Gophers (1-1) are idle this weekend. Former Gophers gymnast and Olympic competitor, John Roethlisberger, will compete in the Winter Cup at Battle Creek, Mich., on Saturday. No current Gophers are entered in the event.