The word “inspirit” means to instill courage or strength of purpose, to hearten, to inspire and to encourage. Dan Bradfield recently opened a company in Casa Grande called Inspirit Gymnastics to provide gymnastics training for children and teens, but he teaches much more than tumbling, vaulting and the use of parallel bars; he also teaches confidence, integrity and spiritual and moral principles. And he’s pretty much done that during his entire adult life.
Dan was on the football and track teams in high school, but had an interest in gymnastics even though his high school (Shawnee Mission West in the Kansas City area) had no gymnastics team. His interest led him to “walk on” the gymnastics team at Kansas University where he earned a degree in Education. He also became good enough to earn a scholarship and set school records in floor exercise and vaulting. Not bad for a walk on!
During most of his career, Dan was a high school Physical Education teacher and gymnastics coach. He did take a few detours from teaching over the years (two years in food service sales, a year in school bus transportation and a year or so as a gymnastics trainer at a gym), but he always returned to his first love, teaching and coaching gymnastics to youngsters.
He spent over 30 years in Kansas schools before accepting the position of Superintendent for the Navajo Nation’s Kayenta Community School in northeast Arizona. Dan says that experience was a “book writer!” He returned to teaching as a Special Education teacher in the Phoenix area until ‘retiring” at age 62.
At that juncture, Dan and his wife, Barbara, were Sun Lakes residents, but they made a life-changing decision in 2011 to adopt two very young girls in need. That forced them to leave Sun Lakes, but their life continues to be enriched by those two girls, now ages 6 and 7. And, guess what? Both girls are great at gymnastics!
A lefty-hitting outfielder, Dan first played in the Sun Lakes Senior Softball League 11 years ago. He missed last year while he was starting his new business, but is back at it this season. He was a top-10 hitter in two of the past three years he played; he also plays on Ken Brenden’s tournament team.
As if running the new business and helping Barbara raise the two little ones isn’t enough to keep Dan busy, he’s also the Principal of Logos Christian Academy in Casa Grande.
The Bradfields don’t have time for many other activities, but they are active as greeters and volunteers at the Casa Grande First Assembly of God Church.
At Inspirit Gymnastics Dan has the opportunity to do what he loves. He not only gets to coach and train “all of his kids,” but he also gets to help mold those youngsters into the type of kids, and ultimately adults, who will become assets in our society. As Dan says, “Kids are not experiments. They’re our future.”