Tag Archives: track

The Work Needed

Tomorrow is state track. I have a triple jumper that has jumped over 2,000 feet in competitions this season. That’s over a quarter of a mile. He will have at least three more jumps tomorrow, the more distance he travels the better his chance of making finals. Where he will have the chance to jump three more times, the more distance he travels the better his chance of earning a medal. 

Triple jumping is one of the most demanding events in track and field. A study done in 2019 (“Mechanical Function of the Human Knee Joint Region during Triple Jump by Combined Multi-body Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis”) indicates that the force on the knees can be over 5 times the body weight of the jumper. 

Sometimes it is not how far we travel to reach our goals that matter. It is the work we put into reaching our goals that makes the difference. I could walk a quarter mile without much stress on my knees. Even to reach his new PR (personal record) my triple jumper is going to have to work hard to jump over 43 feet. 

I haven’t even mentioned all the practices he has worked at for this chance at state.

Sometimes the work needed to reach our goals is hard, and we don’t seem to travel far even though we feel the stress of the work. Keep your faith though, remember that you really don’t know how far your work has taken you until the board official yells “Mark!” Then, the other officials stretch the tape to measure your jump and you’ve set a new PR. 

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Are There Blueberry Muffins in Heaven?

Like most Sunday mornings, we made blueberry muffins this morning. Last night my wife and I watched two episodes of Miami Vice (only on season two…). My second son is headed to state track for high jump on Friday. My oldest son graduated last Sunday. He also was the lead in the school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof last month. My oldest daughter is having a great time in art class this quarter. And my other three daughters are just enjoying life. My stress level is going down now that the end of the school year is near.

As I was straining the blueberries, music playing in the background, my youngest playing in the living room, I thought to myself, “I don’t think heaven can be better than this.”

Sometimes life is good. Honestly, I think life is good more than we realize. And yes, I wonder if heaven can be as good as life. Will there be blueberry muffins? Will my family be there? Will my son perform on a stage, or my daughter draw pictures of lions? Will I snuggle with my girls as we watch How to Train Your Dragon?

Life is wonderful if we take the time to live it. To open our heart to the ones we love. To enjoy the simple things in our lives, like blueberry muffins on a Sunday morning.

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Base Level

NoSpeedLimit

Theme from a past year for the Centura track team.

As a track coach I had my athletes set goals before every meet. There were three levels. Great, Good, and OK. Their goals could be a time, distance, or even a specific aspect like not hitting any hurdles. When considering their goals, the athletes had to think about how the week of practice went, how they had performed in past meets, how their health was at the moment, and other life issues that could affect their performance.

Next step was to set their expectations and write out their goals at the three levels mentioned above.

Great

This goal was to be set at a realistic level, but also knowing that it would take a high level of performance to achieve. Everything would have to go right for them to achieve it.

Good

This was the performance they should expect. A little background knowledge needed here. My athletes knew the training schedule for the whole season.  They also knew that the goal of the training schedule was to have them performing at their best at the district meet to give them a shot at qualifying for the state meet. So, some weeks of practice were difficult and the athletes should expect a different time or distance during those weeks.

OK

Even though this level seems OK, this level was the most important level for them to set. This was the base level they would accept for themselves.  They would not allow themselves to perform any lower than this goal. The reason for this level was to help them handle the rough spots in athletics and life. They might have had their boyfriend break up with them. They might have gotten grounded. They might have been fighting a cold.  Instead of letting the rough spot ruin the track meet, I asked my athletes to set a base level.  Anything worse is just not an option. A rough spot can take away a whole track meet for an athlete if they don’t have a level of expectation for themselves.

But so many times in life we let a rough spot steal away a moment from our lives. We have bad days, but letting that negative moment take away everything else is worse. I don’t expect you or even myself to set goals every day, but creating a habit of considering how life has been going, being realistic, and fostering a level of expectation from yourself that you will not fall below, will allow you to be ready to experience something great.

At the end of the track meet my athletes had to share how their day went with me or their event coach. (I had a place on the goal sheet for coaches to initial.) In all they years I coached, there were a few times an athlete performed below their OK goal. But I never had an athlete perform below their OK level twice. What I miss the most this year is seeing the joy the athletes experience when they performed at their Great level. So many times they shared how they had a rough week but were not going to let the circumstance get to them and that mindset lead to a Great performance.

What is your base level?

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Power of a T-Shirt

With the extra time over break I spent time organizing my closet.  While I was working on my t-shirts I realized something… t-shirts are wearable scrapbooks, that bring back powerful moments in our lives.

Senior Year Swim Team

This is the front of my senior swim team shirt.  I was a diver.  I had high expectations my senior year.  I placed ninth at state my junior year, my first year diving.  But, I placed fourteenth, last, my senior year.  My best friend, who was a state champion, tried to console me after prelims (top 10 continue to finals the next day). This provided one of those friendship bonding lines; after I had finally told him what place I finished at he sincerely said, “I don’t know how you feel.”

The next shirt is the shirt from my first head coaching opportunity and represents one of my hardest decision as a father.

Pawnee City Team Shirt

This shirt was worn by every player on the team during warm-ups.  I was blessed to get the chance to be a head coach in my second year of teaching.  Even as I write this, I am flooded by the memories of the two seasons I coached.  Our first win, having a player crack his vertebrae during a homecoming game, running a crazy 2-3-3 defense (8 man) that allowed us to win a game.  But I made the decision to leave Pawnee City for my family and other reasons. I miss those players everyday.

Sometimes change comes from other people’s choices.

Centura Football

After Pawnee City, I was an assistant coach for the Centura football team.  Those eight years were filled with so many moments as a team, and for me as a coach.  A playoff game in freezing weather, a running back doing the spin move to make the touchdown after we had practiced that move that week, to not being apart of the team after eight years.

But there is something about being a head coach that fills or breaks your heart like nothing else.

Centura Track Team

I was again blessed to be a head coach for the Centura track team from 2009 to 2011.  Life has a funny way of presenting hard choices to you.  Again for family I would have to give up the opportunity to be a part a great team.  I miss wearing the fluorescent shirt to practice; it meant a killer practice for the athletes.  I miss building a season, the beauty and tragedy that track presents for athletes…one shot at performing at their best. Like life, the three years as head coach was filled with both heartbreak and incredible success.

But it isn’t all about sports.

Psychology

This shirt is from a year end project a student did for psychology class.  I have t-shirts from concerts, t-shirts of bands, t-shirts that represents all different types of moments from life.  So, what moment of life will you wear today?

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