Cross Country is special because we have young people of all ablitity levels out for a different reasons. The first group are those that are out to be competitive, their main goal to race, and the second group are those who join to be part of a team. It often is that second group that becomes the heart and soul of the team. They are the ones that make the team turn into a family. And that is what makes Cross Country special, it's a team that turns into a family!
My favorite memory from coaching is not winning a state team title or individual state champions but the relationships that have been formed, between myself and the young people and between the teams. Many years ago we had a young man, Chris, who was not very athletically gifted, he was part of that "second" group. Chris came to practice everyday and worked hard, always postive. He knew he was important to the team, not because of where he would place in races but that he cheered, worked hard, and believed in our family. He never placed in any meets until his Senior year. His parents never came to any meets, the team was his family, and when Chris finally got to step up and recieve his first ribbon, his family cheered and yelled for him, met him with hugs afterward because they knew how special that moment was for him, and they wanted him to know that they were there for him! I use that moment, that feeling, to drive me forward and hopefully give that same type of moment to future young people who are members of our FAMILY.