Friday, October 29, 2010

Triumphs and Tears

I know this is outside the scope or intent of this blog's normal content--if and when I even post anything anymore--but some of you who read this know that I have been a high school track and cross country coach. This year I'm at a new high school and no longer coaching track because it's such a time-sucking vortex, but I had the opportunity to serve as the boys' cross country coach. I ended up being the de facto girls' coach too, however, because Julie (the girls' coach) and I pretty much decided to blend the teams this year.

Yesterday was the day we were all eagerly awaiting: the Capital District Championship. On paper the girls were ranked fourth, and the boys were fifth or sixth out of eight teams in the district. The top four teams advance to Regionals. Despite slow, spongy course conditions due to the storms and tornadoes one day earlier (which forced the meet to be postponed one day), the girls ran really well. As the girls streamed across the finish, I frantically tried running my own scoring of the meet. What I calculated on paper was confirmed later by the official scoring: The girls placed fourth and moved on to Regionals! An added plus was that our top freshman, Katie Sperry, finished 9th to take All-District honors.

Sadly for the boys, our number-five runner and last scorer selfishly quit the team yesterday, leaving us a hole to fill. ("Welcome to the world of coaching," another veteran coach told me.) But our sixth guy stepped it up. We knocked off one of our rival schools that had narrowly defeated us all season long -- except this time we crushed 'em. However, we only ended up fifth place in the district, so our season is over. But I was pretty glad to see that, of all teams in fourth, it was Henrico (where I previously coached) who had defeated us. After all, their top five were all guys I had coached in track last year and recruited to run XC this season. Several other coaches congratulated Julie and I on getting the team off to a good start. It felt good.

Today was an easy, fun day for the kids: the "rainbow run." (Props to Tim Hoshal for that one.) It was a crisp, sunny fall day, with the red maples donned in their characteristic scarlet and the willow oaks and sweetgums in golds and yellows. The kids were in good spirits, and their laughter and smiles added to the bliss brought to me by a beautiful fall day and the joy of cross country. I know that I really need the extra time at school and home afforded by not coaching the rest of the year. I really do. But I'm really quite sad that the season is over for the boys and will soon wrap up for the girls, too. Just like track last year, cross' has been a huge blessing from God in my life, something I'm really thankful for.
Next up: Central Region Championship. . . . And dare I run the Richmond Half-Marathon?

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