Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

I was given a chance this spring to do something that I absolutely love: To coach track and field. Well, I don't yet know if I love to coach track and field because this is my first go around at it, but I absolutely love the sport itself. I ran cross-country and track back in the late 90's at Marancook Community School, and I can honestly say that I've missed both sports since graduating in 2000.

Now I'm not one of those people who clings to their high school glory days by telling stories from 12 years ago to anyone who has an open ear. No, I'm a guy who ran a 4:46 1600 meter (the mile, and a promising time for me at the time) as a junior in my last meet of the season at the Eastern Maine Championships in the spring of 1999, only to follow that performance up with a senior year that saw me contract mononucleosis early in the season. Coming down with mono early that year was a huge let down for me. I was coming off a solid cross-country season and indoor track season and was really amped up for a great finish to a memorable high school career. I had personal goals of running a sub-4:30 mile and to run a sub-1:50 800 meter (half mile). But all that changed when I wasn't even able to practice due to the dreaded kissing disease!

As I recovered throughout the season, I found that running the 1600 with any sort of effectiveness was not going to happen. I became winded and extremely tired during the last 2 laps. This led me to focusing on the 800 meter, a middle-distance event that is more like a long sprint. Needless to say, my high school running career, while once was filled with a lot of promise, came to a disheartening end. But the fire was still in my belly...

Fast forward 11 years. I was hired on the spot to help coach at the Gray/New Gloucester Middle School. I've been given a wonderful chance to leave an impression on a group of kids who are more or less just starting out in track and field. We've only had a couple weather-shortened weeks of practice, but it sure feels good to be back on the track. Although I won't be the one trying to run a personal best mile, I am going to do what I can to teach kids on how they can succeed in their events. Working exclusively with the runners (mostly the 800 and 1600 runners and some sprinters), I've come to realize just how much I've really missed track and field. I'm hoping to lay a foundation for the kids that they can build off of when they get to the high school level, and hopefully they can enjoy some of the successes that I enjoyed when I was their age.

But in the mean time, Go GNG Patriots! Yeah, that little burning fire that's been in my belly since the Spring of 2000 will never go away...      

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