During the past nine years gymnastics has been a way of life for the Rigbys. At first the piano was sold to raise money for a set of uneven bars. Then Mr. Rigby built a balance beam which still stands under the willow tree in the backyard. The shelves in the living-room bar gradually collected trophies, rather than liquor bottles. Cathy's older sister, Mitchie, became a gymnast and married a gymnastics coach. When her younger sister, Jill, was still a baby, she slept on a mat at the gym while Mrs. Rigby watched Cathy's workouts. "Growing up in a gym, she had to become a gymnast, too," says Mrs. Rigby, "but I would prefer it if she was in another sport. In gymnastics she'll always be Cathy's sister." Now 10, Jill has joined the Mini SCATs. Only Cathy's brothers Steve and Jeff resisted the trend. Steve played baseball, and Jeff runs track.
"Gymnastics has made Cathy a considerate person," says Mrs. Rigby. "No matter how tired she is, she will always sign autographs. But she hates people who don't say 'please' and 'thank you.' "
There are times when Cathy Rigby thinks about her financial future, but not too seriously. Two months ago she started a savings account with a $60 deposit. She now has a balance of $3. "They are charging mc 50� for overactivity," she says.
Marquette likes to tell his SCATs, "We only live for today. There may be no tomorrow." "He wants us to realize," says Cathy, "that this is the happiest time in our lives. Afterward we'll have 50 years left to do all the things we can't do now."
Following the AAU meet, Marquette received a letter from George Lewis, a gymnastics coach in Seattle. It read in part: "We have known each other for many years, but for the first time I think I understand some of your thinking.... I now feel you have built up Cathy a great young lady, not just for Cathy or Bud but for the prestige of the U.S.A. You know that all this hard work could go down the tube with thoughtless judges or an extra risk at a meet.
"Please give my deep regards to Cathy for her great understanding of her coach and her patience. This is a remarkable thing for a young lady to have."