Why do Saturdays make me sad? I’ve found that question on my mind a lot since rejoining this family as a coach last summer. I would get home from 10 am doughnut filled practices (also known as 10@8@10) and just feel empty. Today I figured it out. 8 years ago, when I first joined track things were really tough for me. I’d just had a falling out with one best friend and the other had moved to Illinois at the start of the year. I’ll never forget when my science teacher asked me to come out for track, I’ve never asked him what he saw in me but I’m pretty sure what he saw isn’t what he ended up finding. Through track I rekindled old friendships and forged new ones. On Saturdays we started meeting at someone’s house to play board games, risk and monopoly were the favorites. It was in those games that lasted for hours that I found something I didn’t know I needed. I found a family that accepted me with open arms. It didn’t matter that as a sophomore I could barely run a 6-minute mile, they took me as I was. That’s the gift my family has given to me, brotherhood and belief. The boys on that team made me one of their own, they believed in me even when I failed.
Now, the boys on that team from only 8 years ago are scattered to the winds so to speak. We don’t really keep in touch much and we’ve even lost one of our own far too soon. But I don’t look back on those days with a longing for what was. I look back at how blessed I was to receive this gift. My challenge to you is to make this team a family. Introduce yourself to just one person you don’t know, you’ll be amazed at what this simple gesture can accomplish. Help a teammate with their technique or push them through a tough workout, we accomplish more together than we ever could alone. And finally, remember that your words are powerful, your teammates are listening, you have the power to create and destroy, which will you choose? Saturday’s made me sad because I’d forgotten how lucky I was. Now they make me hopeful because I see what we can become and where we are going. And I know that we’ll get there together because just like someone believed in me once, I believe in each of you to make it happen.
This story is the first in a new blog series we will be trying out this season that a focuses on our core values: positivity, resilience, responsibility, and sportsmanship. For me, when you have a team that celebrates these values, what you really have is a family. Throughout the course of the season we will be gathering stories or other writings like this from various people associated with our program, all are welcome to participate.