Tat on his wrist like Coach Wright doesn’t know what permanent is

By Lindsey Boyd (@lindsboyd3):

Ink — a permanent liquid that tests levels of commitment. Think about it, almost every big promise is signed in ink. Athletes sign contracts in ink. Schools ink agreements to be in a conference. Recruits even have celebratory days dedicated to signing and committing to a team.

If your coach is like San Jose State gymnastics coach Wayne Wright, ink is also tattooed on your wrist. He has had his own type of commitment with his gymnastics classes through the past three years.

“We made a goal with Wayne that if we win conference, he has to get a tattoo on his head,” said junior gymnast Kendal Watts.

For the past few years, the gymnasts have consistently reminded Wayne of their bet. If they win a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference, he would have to get a Spartan head tattooed on the back of his head.

“I go ‘that ain’t happening,’” Wright said.

But, after the team won conference in March this year, Wayne felt he better follow through on his promise.

“I said, ‘yeah I’ll definitely get a tatoo,’” Wright said. “Where, I didn’t agree to.”

Not being a big fan of tattoos, Wright’s skin remained ink-less his whole life. Luckily, the team compromised and allowed him to get a tattoo on the inside of his wrist so if he wore a watch, he could hide it.

Wright was somewhat relieved every time he’d go into a local tattoo parlor and ask if they could do his tattoo because they all had the same response — there was too much detail work to do a small Spartan head.

But, while on vacation in Las Vegas with other gymnastics coaches, they happened to walk by a tattoo shop.

“We’re walking on by past the tattoo parlor and the coach from Sacramento State, Randy, says ‘wait, you got to get that tattoo now right?’ and I go ‘should I?’” Wright said.

With peer pressure looming, not to mention the promise behind a conference title win after a 13- year drought, Wright decided to walk in.

“I was hoping he’d say no it would be too small to do, but he goes ‘oh yeah, I could do that in about an hour,’” Wright said of the tattoo artist.

Wright gave his blood, sweat and tears quite literally for his tattoo and video proof of this was necessary in order to convince his past and present gymnasts that he really got the Spartan tattoo.

“The word spread really fast,” Watts said.

Wayne sent the team a picture of his tattoo in a gymnastics group chat which was shared amongst all the athletes and coaches at SJSU. Wayne even posted the pictures and videos on his Facebook page.

“Woohooo finally!!! But I think it’s suppose to be on the back of your head haha,” said 2015 gymnastics alumna Cami Guyer on Wright’s Facebook post.  

Wright tends to wear a watch over his tattoo, but he’s proud to show it off when asked.

“I kept my promise,” Wright said, “I just know I won’t be getting another tattoo.”

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