April 20, 2013

Bears 2013

This week... wow... this week. I'm purposefully choosing to not blog on this past week's events in Boston. No doubt that I am feeling what many of you are feeling, but I just need to step away from so much emotional stimulation. I hope that makes sense, and I hope no one thinks I'm an insensitive jerk.

Last night concluded our spring track season. To say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. Last year, we had no problem making it to Sectionals because we placed high in the County. This year, they changed the qualifications for Sectionals. They basically took the "team" aspect out of it and put time/distance qualifications on every event. Like I talked about in XC, I have kids that are decent, mid-point scorers, but nothing spectacular. When you put a lot of "average" hard-working kids together, you have a pretty good team. Unfortunately, none made the grade for the Sectional meet. Last night was our one last shot. Insult to injury was that it POURED down rain and 50 degrees- terrible conditions for beach kids. What I witnessed was TOUGHNESS, PERSEVERANCE, and GUTS. I couldn't help but to hope that I somehow molded these young athletes to this point. That boy that came in last in the 800? Yeah, he was mine, but he also ran a 20 second PR. Some idiot coach tried to put out the hurdles while he was still finishing, but he still sprinted it in, dodging the moron with me screaming my lungs out to his 2:35 performance. And I was proud, truly proud. These kids that can work and work and rarely see the rewards inspire me beyond words. I keep a spreadsheet with all the events and athletes for the whole season. It shows each meet, each event, and their performance. One of my boys literally PRed in the mile every.single.meet. His total PR from first meet to last was nearly a minute (in the mile). He went from nearly last to a mid-packer. And that is why I coach.

Truth- last week I nearly turned in my resignation. And it actually has nothing to do with the kids. I consider myself to be a very likable person. I get along with nearly everyone, and usually this comes easily to me. Somehow I turned into a punching bag for the other coach. For some reason, he felt the need to publicly insult me nearly every chance he got. In addition to that, he did not let me help with any of the key decisions for the team. I didn't even decide the events for my OWN distance kids! I have story after story of rude, disrespectful, and downright harassing things he has said and done to me. And in general, I find him to be a TERRIBLE role model. He chews and spits tobacco during practice and meets and uses profanity in front of the children. He cancels practice for no reason and has even left kids at the school when leaving for meets. I have done a LOT of soul searching about this. I HATE to be the person that lets this go. It really makes me sick to think that he is doing this as result of some macho-ego saturated in sexism. And that goes against everything in my soul. However, in this deep south coaching world, I am nearly alone. The football coaches call the shots. In fact, someone close to me suggested talking to the AD, but the AD is a football coach, the other track coach's best buddy! I'm so afraid of the backlash. They don't HAVE to keep me on as a coach. As one of the few female coaches in this area of the state, I feel like I represent our small population. I have to pave the way for others, as stupid as that sounds. Do I want to pave the way by being a whistle blower?

So. I did nothing, and as of now, I will continue to do nothing. One Sunday morning, Brad and I veered off from the group a little bit as we ran. Brad is an old track guru, and he's been so supportive and helpful. He's my favorite person to bounce training and team ideas off of. At this point in the season, I was near tears at just the mention of the subject, and I told him I was thinking of resigning. He agreed that yes, bubba football coaches are jerk offs, but I had to be there for my distance kids. He talked to me about the time and effort I'd put in with them all through XC and how important I was in their running "careers." He emphasized the need for consistency in their lives. And he is right.

At the end of the day, the athletes know where I stand, and in my heart I know who I am doing this for.


  1. Your heart is definitely in the right place. And you do what you do, not for the appreciation of the other teachers and coaches, but because the kids need you. They do appreciate you and you know that it is going to help them in their futures.

    I do hope you can get something solved with this, though. Unfortunately this sounds like something in a novel I read once..with the southern mind set. Not always wrong, but some things aren't right. If the AD can't help, would the superintendent help? Maybe someday he'll retire and you will be left with a good chunk of time to really make a HUGE difference with the program.

  2. I admire you very much! You are such a strong and beautiful woman!!

  3. I had to read and come back in order to comment.

    As disappointing as the whole situation is all-around, it sounds like you did the best for both the athletes and yourself.

    As your friend of course I wound have wanted things to have ended up differently , but hopefully, some day some how, the broken system can slowly make progress. If nothing else you did your part.

  4. p.s. proud of you, as usual!

  5. What a horrible decision to remove the team aspect from the qualifications. So sorry about that other coach. That must be tough to deal with that every day. I'm proud of you're work with the kids this season, and I think it's awesome that kid got a PR in the 800 despite those conditions!

  6. At the Univercity where I coach we also have a few problems with the other sports that use our track / field... I also feel they should be the ones keeping out our way! We are the oldest sport, we train year round (even between Christmas and New Year). We've had guys at world champs, guys winning Gold at the para olympics, special olympics (ok not students, but they train with us).

    Then you have it right anyone can coach the best in the world, but to take a no-body and get them to run PR after PR That is a winner!!!

    So in my eyes you win every time!!!