Me? An assistant cross-country coach?!? Late Friday afternoon two weeks ago, I had just been sitting there in the tutoring center, when a guy walked in and asked, “Do you know anyone that would be interested in helping coach the cross county team?”
It took me a couple minutes to let the idea sink in; I kept asking the head coach questions to give me a little time to process. What he needed was someone with a Bachelor’s degree and who had coached or ran before. I had the degree. Check. I helped with jr. high and high school cross country teams for a bit–he had said “even a little experience.” Check.
I responded, “Yes, I am interested!” That late Friday afternoon my October changed in a way I had never even considered.
I interviewed the next Monday, got okayed to start helping by last Friday, and my first job as Coach Campbell resulted in riding on the team bus out to a forest preserve near my house and cheering on my nine students in their third cross country meet. I ran/walked alongside a student, who had pulled a muscle, so she couldn’t run that meet.
I copied what the main coach did (because most of this is new to me!)–that is, running around the course, cheering on the runners (and I even ran in with a couple of our slower runners!) The warm, September day, running through nature began a new adventure for me into the world of athletes.
This last week I have lead one practice, started another, learned more about our nine runners. I haven’t worked out this hard all in one week before–coming alongside the runners and doing it with them.
Coaching means coming alongside someone, and when they are open, giving them advice on how to get better, stronger, faster.
Have you ever ran for several miles? Your side burns, your head throbs, and you want to stop, and you probably will if you don’t have a coach or a friend cheering you on. I needed outside encouragement (i.e. A friend who invited me to run with her) to get me striding down the street. I am glad that friend helped me start running; encouraging students to become better athletes is what makes this opportunity to be Coach Campbell so exciting!
Two weeks into this–where am I? On the team bus again on the way to an out of state college cross country meet. I’m excited to coach and encourage my runners tomorrow!
This is the kind of scenery we had at last week’s meet: