Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hidden Blessings

Tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday is the Capital District Track and Field Championship. Of the athletes I coach, the boys 4 x 800 m relay team is running, along with two boys and a girl in the 800 m run, three in the 1600 m run, and two boys in the 3200 m run. A few weeks ago our 4 x 800 m relay team did something our school hasn't done in a while: won an invitational. The guys were ecstatic. They even invited me to go to dinner with them that evening at Buffalo Wild Wings in celebration!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of the season. I doubt any of my athletes is going to run well enough to move on to the regional championship except for our 4 x 800 relay team and possibly one runner in the 800 m. The team is simply too small and inexperienced. And let's face it: urban black kids aren't into distance running. If we have a bad day tomorrow, drop a baton, step outside of a lane, or whatever--the season is over. If not, we'll probably fight it out for third or fourth place in our district and move on to race another week. I don't want it to end.

I'll be moving to a brand-new high school next year and coaching boys' cross country there. This week one of my runners, Maxwell, kept asking about possible reasons that might keep me from going to the new school. Today I gave out a sheet with a racing plan and pacing for their races. Maxwell's brother Markus said, "I'm going to put this on my wall. Someday I'll be able to show my kids and say that I ran for the best track coach in Richmond." Amid further protests against my departure, two sprinters, Michael and CJ, also were talking about how fifty years from now there will be a track (or at least an invitational meet) named after Coach Hall.

Coaching track has really been a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating, fatiguing, and futile year of teaching. It has been really cool being able to connect with my athletes, encourage them, and see them achieve more success in middle- and long-distance events than we've had in several years. (Our sprinters and horizontal jumpers, however, perenially top the district and have competed at the prestigious Penn Relays.) Some runners ask me to pray for them before races. If it weren't for track, I think I would've had a difficult time finding much to thank God for about this past year. But every day I look forward to leaving my classroom, grabbing my notebook and stopwatch, and getting outside. It's a surprise gift from God for which I'm really grateful, a beautiful flower growing up from a cracked desert floor.

Now let's go Warriors! Behold the green and gold!

1 comment:

Halfmom said...

I have been very grateful for this clear gift of God in your life. I also am very proud that you can see it as such in the midst of a tough year.

Sometimes you pour ointment out as an offering on feet and God deems it an act of love. Keep on pouring yourself into them in each way you get a chance - some trees are apples and you can see the results in short time. Some trees are macadamias and you must wait many years before you see the fruit. But, you will reap in kind and due measure for what you sow!