Track Reunion: Going Back to Say Thanks

Oct 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Adventure
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Me & Coach Craig

Originally uploaded by dr.coop

This past weekend I drove to Bakersfield, CA for my college Track & Field and Cross Country reunion. I graduated from California State University Bakersfield 20 years ago, and I had never been back. That’s not because I didn’t enjoy my time there. In fact, I’d forgotten how much fun I had back in my old college days. But it was not the memories of fun that drove me back for this reunion. I wanted to go back so that I could say thanks.

We would all agree that our college years were our formative ones, but for some of us our experience goes beyond that. I felt, like many of my teammates back then, that given the chance I could probably do something really great. All we needed was a chance, and for some of us with mediocre talent and very little money for college, finding a college that would give us a chance and help pay for it was a dream. For most of us, greatness would come on the track or field at CSUB, but for others, like myself, it would come later after having graduated from college. I’m not trying to say that I’m some superstar or even great beyond the normal person that walks this planet. What I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be who I am today had it not been for the coaches in my life who taught me a good work ethic and how to be a leader. They also gave me a love for teaching and coaching.

My first track coaches in high school were teachers. My community college coaches were teachers, and Coach Coons at CSUB was a teacher. In fact, my senior year I asked Coach Coons what would I have to major in to become a track coach. I was a communication major at the time, and he said that in order to be a coach I would need to have a job that would allow me to be available in the afternoons when the kids had practice, and the best job for doing that was teaching. So the next day I went to my advisor and asked what I could change my major to to become a teacher. That next quarter I became an English Literature major. Why? Certainly not because I liked English lit classes. I wanted to be a teacher, so I could be a coach.

So that’s what I did. I suffered through an additional year of college and graduated with a degree in English Literature. Then I followed in the footsteps of several of my former coaches, coaching high school track and cross country and then later coaching at two community colleges. I’m not sure I would have changed my major had not Coach Coons suggested it. Who knows? What I do know is that I’m very proud of my accomplishments as a teacher and coach, and after this past weekend, I have now officially thanked all those wonderful coaches that helped shape and guide me in my life. Thanks Coach Coons making me a better athlete and person, and thanks Coach Craig for giving me the opportunity and for taking care of me during my three years at CSUB.

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