I coached jr high cross country for my former school district for the 2008-2010 seasons. It was very difficult for me to give up the position when I obtained a full time job; one whose hours would not allow me to be off work early enough to get to practice. I was fortunate in that my dad actually took over my position and has been enjoying it ever since.
This past fall Jason came across a posting for an assistant varsity track and field coach at our local high school. Having taken a position in the spring that afforded me flexibility in my work hours I made the decision to apply. In Feb. I was hired to coach hurdlers both on the varsity and jr high teams. The ability to float between the teams was both a fun challenge since I had hurdlers of all skill levels, and also a tad exhausting as it resulted in having more away meets to travel to.
From March through this past weekend I have not had much of a life outside of work and coaching. There were many nights that until I got home from practice, completed my own workout, showered and made dinner, I was eating at 8pm. Refusing to rely on concession stands for dinner every week, I fine tuned my meal planning ability and increased my list of crock pot recipes. Jason’s chore list grew longer, the cat’s dinner time became erratic, and my parents likely felt that they only had 1 daughter instead of 2 most of the spring. The extreme temperature changes throughout the early part of the season caused the worst chilblain breakouts I’ve ever had on my fingers. Snow squalls, rain, wind, heat and humidity all made me feel that I was a postal worker at times.
Everyday I coached though was worth it. For 2-2.5 hours a day at practice, all evening for meets and all day or night invites I forgot that coaching was a job. To be part of a team, to have athletes who enjoy working with you and to see them succeed is something that completes me as a person.
Our varsity boys’ team went undefeated at 6-0 and our girls’ team had a winning season at 4-2. I had 2 hurdlers medal in the county meet and one who continued onto compete in the District 3 championships. I had 2 jr high hurdlers place in their year end invitational. I saw improvement in every one of my athletes and their dedication grow with the season.
As a new coach at a new school it can be intimidating not knowing how the athletes will accept you. After many years of bleeding blue and gold I wasn’t sure how blue and white would suit me. Fortunately the majority of my hurdlers took to having me there very well, and I received plenty of hugs throughout the season and at our year end banquet.
I am grateful for the opportunity to continue coaching high school athletes; it has always been and will always be a passion of mine rather than a job. I have a great group of kids returning again next year and can’t wait to see what the future holds. I learn from them as much as they learn from me, and they remind me of what’s really important in life.