Six Years and What I Have Learned

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        wisconman on #229062

        The last post I had on this site was 6 years ago. I was an aspiring Decathlete, who wanted a good coach to help me with my goals. I finally transferred to a University where I received excellent coaching. An incredibly rigorous off-season that was building me up to finally peak at the right time was ended with a sprained ankle (the first of my life) which lead to a blown out shoulder in javelin. Which lead to a blown out back and knee and elbow, all of which still bother me to this day, even though the last time I competed was four years ago.

        I never got close to what I wanted to do in competition, and after my excellent coaches left the program (one left for a better job, one died of cancer, and one was replaced) I quit; body and soul, broken. I continued following my passions in English and Education, received a Masters in Teaching, was published in a small journal, and continued on in life.

        Towards the end of my first year as a teacher at a very small school some of the kids on the Track team begged me to come out and help. It is amazing how much terminology you forget after four years. It’s also amazing how much you can take your own life experiences for granted.

        I never accomplished what I wanted to do in my own career. Suddenly, I had half a dozen incredibly hungry athletes hanging on my every word and critique; eyes shining, hearts full. Kids from the wrong side of the tracks, just like I was. The first lesson I gave them was on being okay with who they were, and not letting their performance diminish their self-esteem.

        A couple of months later my best sophomore girl discus thrower broke the school record, the state record, and brought home a state championship in our small-school division with a throw of a little over 126.’ She started the year not knowing how to “full spin.”

        After I quit Track it has pained me to think about how hard I had worked, for years, and how nothing had come of it. Nothing came of it FOR ME. ME. But now, a girl who has never been good enough in the eyes of her parents has someone with real knowledge to direct her. A boy who has never been allowed to play sports has a coach who can him catch up on lost years of training.

        I would like to thank Mike especially, but all of the others on the site as well for the 5 or so years I spent perusing and picking brains, and getting encouragement that I took for granted. I learned a lot.

        I am still of a mindset that I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, and because of that, I failed. Now I am starting to see something different as well. What I didn’t attain is allowing me to help others who are going through what I went through, in sport, and in life. Would I have been a “better person” if I would have accomplished my T&F goals? I think I would be more confident, but I am also pretty sure I would be a major d-bag with a capital D.

        Failing made me empathetic. It made me thoughtful and reflective. My road to failure taught me how to do research, how to be objectively critical, and it taught me how to organize. It gave me the skills to see my passions come to fruition. It also gave me grit to see a job to it’s end.

        Four years out I realize that had I been successful in what I set out to do, my “success” wouldn’t ever have filled the hole that I thought it would. But I think that failure has moved me further along the path to what I really need, some sort of acceptance, and peace, with myself, as a person.

        I will probably be creeping in the shadows as I get a training program ready for my athletes next year. It’s good to be back again, from a different perspective.


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        jasonkanzler on #230527

        Great post.  Wish you all the best.  I too have transitioned from competing to coaching.  Whereas at one point I shared some of your sentiment regarding “failing”, I now find far more fulfillment from coaching than I ever did from competing.  Competing drives one life, whereas coaching inspires many lives.

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        aivala on #230536

        I also “quit” competitive t&f some years ago without having achieved any big goal in competition but in training. But I feel that t&f helped me a lot to develop the mentality of “never give up”. That helped me enormously while studying engineering and even more now, that I am trying to make my own business. I believe that if I hadn’t gone before through that process of hitting the wall and standing up again I would have never had the required resilience.

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