Friday, October 15, 2010

GIVING BACK

I’m not sure it’s a conscious or subconscious decision, but during the last few years I’ve seemed to be searching for ways to give back to the sport that’s given me so much over the last 30+ years. I’ve been writing for the MDRA newsletter for probably 4-5 years now. Then I started my interview blog back in October of 2006. There was the year of writing press releases for TCM in 2008 before working on the Yearbook last year.

This year the opportunity arose to become the program director/coach of the Eastview Athletic Association cross country program which is geared towards 3rd – 6th graders. The previous program director emailed a very long list of duties, and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to take over the program. However, cross-country is one of those programs with a high likely-hood that no one will take over and the program just fades away.

I agreed to do it as long as I could find another person to help with the coaching duties. Luckily, Val was eager to jump in and give coaching a shot even though she’s never run cross-country. Given that we had no idea what we were getting into, it’s safe to say that we were pretty darn scared before the season started. Then we had our first practice and 30+ kids showed up. Now we were really scared!!! Somehow we were able to muddle through everything.

Before we knew it, the season was over. We had our final practice last night, a time trial, followed by an ice cream social while going over each kid’s improvement during the season. In the end, it was an absolute blast. And it’s actually sad that we’ll have to wait 10 months before we get to do it again.


I wish I could go through each kid’s season here and talk about the highs and lows, but I won’t. I will say that we had one girl in tears after the first couple of meets. She was super fast when it came to sprinting, but she had no concept of pacing. As a result, she spent a lot of time walking and ended up with mile times around 11-minutes. Once she figured out pacing (with the awesome help of her coaches, of course), she dropped her PR to 7:59. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone more excited.

That’s what it’s all about and that’s just one example that I think made the season a huge success. We sent out a survey recently, and luckily, the parents seem to think the same way as Val and I have received some high marks.

Quote of the Day;

“Positive, friendly atmosphere was wonderful--it seems good running stems from kids being willing to both succeed AND fail in front of their teammate and coaches, so they can take the risks to do their best. Starting out too fast is a lesson, leaving too much energy at the end is a lesson, and the kids seemed to trust in this learning environment.” – Survey response

4 comments:

Kurt said...

Great Job Chad you will remember that forever. Plus there will be kids who will also remember it forever!!

Marisa said...

It seems so early for a cross country program to be over - do they not do USATF/AAU cross country up there? I've heard of nothing in Rochester, but I assumed the Cities had something. My brothers and I were members of a youth track club, and we participated in the AAU and USATF events. Regionals or Association meets are in Nov, with nationals in Dec.

Chad said...

Marisa,

The problem is these are 3rd - 6th graders and there aren't a lot of meets for them to run. Some of the high schools have meets earlier in the year, but now they're into conference, sectionals and state, so there really aren't any more meets around.

There is a USATF meet on Nov 13th that's optional for our kids, but I can't see keeping the season going for another month without any other meets to run. Besides, they'd all have to pay $20 to be USATF members and I don't see that happening.

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