An Indianola baseball player has been jumping and flipping around since he was a kid.
When Nate Banks was growing up in West Virginia, his mom decided he needed to be involved in an activity that sucked up some of his energy.
So, she put him in gymnastics.
Now the recent Indianola graduate and senior baseball player is putting his 13-year gymnastics career to good use.
Every time his team wins they run into the outfield, huddle around him, and Banks flips over. As of Monday, the Indianola baseball team had 21 wins.
Banks explained the flips, which seem to be working since the team has a winning record, began at the beginning of this season.
“When I was on the field at practice I got bored and I started doing back flips and everyone thought it was cool,” Banks said. “This originally started as I was going to do one every time I ran home, but I wasn’t getting much playing time so I wanted to do something to get the team pumped up for our win.”
That’s when Banks started doing back flips after his team wins.
Banks said he’s had some mixed reactions from opposing teams.
During a rain delay against Norwalk, he said, the two teams started playing tic-tac-toe with the ball. The teams were tossing it back and forth when his teammates told him he should go do a flip.
“Everyone yelled ‘watch this,’” Banks said. “The [Norwalk team] stood silent and didn’t do anything back because no one else could do that. We all got a kick out of that.”
Members of the team say they look forward to the flip after every win.
“It’s lit. It hypes us up,” said Chris Anderson, a member of the Indianola team. “It’s a high for the next game.”
“It’s like extra motivation to win,” added centerfielder Brady Held. “It always feels like something’s missing when we lose. It’s just something extra to look forward to.”
While Banks was enrolled in gymnastics for more than a decade, he said he surprised himself when he figured out he could still flip after a four-year break. He quit gymnastics after he moved to Iowa from West Virginia a few years ago.
He enrolled in a local tumbling class, but couldn’t keep up with it, swimming and baseball so he decided to drop tumbling.
“It was surprising when I first started doing back flips again. I could always do it on a trampoline, no problem, even after I stopped, but there was part of me that was like I don’t really want to do it on the ground because it’s been a while,” Banks said. “I just went for it. I failed a few times but I was like it’s nothing I haven’t done before.”
Banks might be able to keep putting his talent to good use next year.
He’s heading to Southwestern Community College in Creston to focus on a career in welding.
He also plans to continue his baseball career there.
But first, he’s got a season to finish here in Indianola.
Banks said he’s pretty confident his team can get to state this summer.
“I think we’re going to go all the way,” Banks said. “We are very confident in ourselves and we are only one win away from our total wins last year and we still have half the season to go.
“I think we can go all the way. There’s not a doubt in my mind.”