A little background info for most you. Tim is a high school freshman who started running with us over the summer. He stood by himself and basically never spoke, even if spoken to. Coach asked him during the summer if he came because he wanted to or because his mother kept bring him back. Tim's answer, because his mother brought him every Tuesday and Thursday evening. But I know that is not his answer now. After cross country, I ran a 5K with him because I knew there was more there. He ran 23:40, about a two minute PR. Tim will never be a state champion, conference champion, or probably the winner of a single race. But winning is not required to be a runner. Being a runner is rather hard to define. The simple definition is putting one foot in front of the other with a flight or airborne phase in between the steps. Though, I don't think that defines being a runner. I could try to define it, but why. If you're a runner, you just know what being a runner is about. And now, I see a runner in Tim. Seeing him change and open up is really more rewarding than any state champions I have coached or will coach. Seeing kids discover that they can do more than they thought they could is a reward unto itself. Tim may not always run, but I hope and believe he has learned some lessons about himself that will carry beyond running. That is why I coach.
So that I don't sound too philosophical and... nice. I'll tell you that many of the kids would say I'm mean and maybe a jerk. I think they just don't get it yet. One of my favorite quotes from this fall will probably fit well here. It was on a run with Cory, a 20 year old, former runner from our high school. Talking about running, coaching, and various kids through the years, he said some of his friends ask why he hangs out with me. Then Cory looked at me and with a straight face said, "I like being around you more than most people do."