barefoot-beachMany of us around the United States are starting our outdoor track seasons this week. Understanding that fact I felt it is important to remember why we do this sport in the first place. As a coach your real mission is to inspire or create a spark. A spark leads to belief in something greater and belief leads to investment. Investment is needed to become a rugged individual who can stand in the face of great challenges. Over coming these great challenges allows the athlete perspective and respect the sport requires. I enclosed (with permission) a youngster letter she wrote for class who is just starting this journey. She was asked to write about her “spark” that has motivated and challenged her. She is a wonderful young person with great parents. She is truly on the right path to become something special I really look forward to her development as runner and as a student. Kids like this should be the reason we all coach. Its not for the fame, glory, or personal kudos its always been about inspiring young people.

“My spark is running. Running is important to me because it shows my athletic ability. I’ve participated in Cross Country since fifth grade. In fifth grade, I received a fourth place metal. In sixth grade, I received a nineteenth place metal, and this year, I received another fourth place metal. I have six “Spark Lighters” who have helped in making me perform better at the hobby I love most, running.My Mom and Dad have been a wonderful impact on my running. They encourage me to run my fastest and do my best. My mom’s friend, Theresa, helps me to have fun while running. She invited me to go to the Color Run on April 26th. She thinks it will make me a better runner. My dad’s friend, Ryan, is a running coach for high school girls. He trains some of the fastest girls in Missouri. He offered to train me during the summer this year. He believes that if I practice a lot, I can pursue my dream. I have two amazing teachers at Oakville Middle School who go out of their way to direct Cross Country. Their names are Mr. Fernbacher (eighth grade teacher) and Mrs. Meinershagen (gym teacher). They provide practices and cheer us on. I can’t wait until this fall to compete in Cross Country once again. I hope I make it far in life with running. I’m looking forward to the marathons and races yet to come!”