Tumbling to the top

Tumbling to the top
(Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer) Muscogee (Creek) citizen Memphis Black was named Oklahoma’s 2017-18 Overall Trampoline Athlete of the Year.

Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer

13-year-old citizen is three-time national champion



HENRYETTA, Oklahoma — The average parent probably asks themselves several questions when deciding whether to purchase their child a trampoline or not.

Is it safe? How much does it cost? Where is a good place in the yard for it?

It is fair to say that not many would ask, ‘is this an investment in my child’s future?’

They would definitely consider it if they ever met Memphis Black, a 13-year-old Muscogee (Creek) citizen who took a curiosity and interest in doing tricks on the trampoline and transitioned it into a passion for tumbling and competition.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” Black said. “I used to always like jumping on the trampoline and do the craziest stuff I could. I was so amazed at what everybody could do and I said ‘I wanna do that.’ ”

Tumbling differs from what most know as gymnastics in that it includes trampoline and rod floor events.

It is the trampoline division Black has perhaps made his biggest mark, being named United States Tumbling and Trampoline Association’s 2017-2018 Overall Trampoline Athlete of the Year for Oklahoma.

The rest of his resume is not too shabby either: three national championships, nine state championships, the 2016-17 Oklahoma USTA Overall Athlete of the Year and 49 first place trophies.

And he has done this all in just three years of tumbling.

Black perfects his craft in downtown Henryetta at McIntosh Tumbling. Walking into the old building, you cannot help but appreciate history. Not only of the building itself, but the countless banners, trophies and championships that cover the walls.

Muscogee (Creek) citizen Joe “Spook” McIntosh initially opened the gym in 1990 for his daughter Sonya. She along with many others were championship performers for McIntosh.

Katie Thompson, who was one of those championship performers, felt so much love for the business that she decided to keep it going when Spook decided to retire. She is now the owner and head coach of McIntosh Tumbling along with her husband Josh.

“I tumbled for them when I was little,” Thompson said. “And when my little girl turned five, I brought her to McIntosh of course, because it was home.”

Thompson beams with pride when talking about one of her and Josh’s prized pupils. In a short amount of time, Black has been everything they both look for to lead their team.

“He’s super coachable, but not only that he’s a good kid,” Thompson said. “We have younger athletes in the gym that look up to Memphis immensely. He has inspired a lot.”

Thompson notes Black has even moved on to coaching as well, having coached a 4-year-old from the gym to the 2018 National Championship on beginner trampoline.

He was also introduced to competitive cheerleading through a friend and according to Black, and what may be the best news for his proud family, he is looking to turn his dedication and success in the sport to advance his future.

“I really wanted to do cheer because I want to get a scholarship to go to college,” Black said. “I really want to go to OU because they have a gymnastics and cheer team and they’re adding like trampoline and rod floor and double mini and that kind of stuff.”

Black, who will enter the 8th grade this school year, said when he goes to college he wants to study physical therapy.

He is the son of Margaret and Chris Black of Jenks.

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