Irony. My Dad always used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.” 12 year old Me didn’t understand ANY downside to wishes being granted. I mean 10 years later as a 22 year old I would’ve given anything for my dream of playing pro football come true. I mean what could’ve been the downside right!?!?!
Three years ago I was desperately trying to save a marriage with 3 little kids. I had two jobs at the time. My Full time job as Track/XC Coach at a College and running a family business. I was overwhelmed and while I didn’t do any job well that year, I did try and FAIL to save my marriage. I remember being at a Track meet early that year and WISHING Track season was over so I could get my life back in order. And that year, I should probably have been fired from all my jobs…ironically I was desperately trying to save my marriage of which I was terminated from. Any given meet I was at that year I just WISHED the season would end. And that particular year we ended up with 5 athletes at NCAA Nationals and three All-Americans. Good thing that wish didn’t come true.
The very next year we lost one of those All-Americans to injury and an Athlete I really cared about broke my heart and transferred schools. And just to be clear, she broke my heart in the Way that coaches fall in Love with Athletes. I was ready to build a program and team around her and she completely broke my already fragile, healing heart into pieces. After that I thought, I could really just use some old fashioned TIME OFF. And in a sense I probably did take the time off as it was NOT my best year of work. It probably was even WORSE than the year before. You see I fell in Love with a woman that year, and spent most of my time trying to WOO her. So ballroom dance become my Full-Time Hobby. Unfortunately, I had my heart broken again…this time my Metaphorical real HEART (LOVE). Basically part of that season’s problem was me chasing something that was never going to happen. The best part of that Heart Break was KNOWING that my Heart actually worked again; that I felt things, that I could LOVE. For awhile after my divorce I was really worried that I wouldn’t ever care about anything…and that really scared me.
So this real LOVE/Heart Break was a WAKE UP CALL to get back to work. Luckily it happened very early in the year and I recovered quickly. I recovered quick enough to be a part of getting back on track (pun intended). Our Women’s track team even won the indoor Championship that year as I was starting to feel like my old self again. Then a key woman got hurt during Outdoor Season and it took a lot of effort to get our Guy (see previous blog post) back to NCAA Nationals. But we did it. I felt like we (okay I ) was ready for anything the world could throw at me.
This past summer, I was ready to get our Team back to prominence and also to Live my Best Life. I was going help our team to WIN: I was going to LIVE my life to the Fullest. My Cross Country Season got off to a great start as we spent 4 days during Summer Camp on Lake Erie. It was BEAUTIFUL. The women’s team was strong and had many hard workers and a few really talented athletes. Our Men were really down though. However, we found some amazing Leaders on the men’s side and then picked a guy up mid way through the year to enable us to score in the Conference Championship. Our Men finished 7 out of 10. YES 7th… and it was an amazing Achievement as we should have been DEAD LAST. I was So proud of those guys.
As I say I was back to my old self, I also felt no Pressure. Our Women won the Indoor Championship in a pretty big upset the year before. We lost quite a few women due to graduation and injury. Those women were going to be tough to Replace. But about mid-way through the Indoor Season, We figured out a path that we could actually win this thing. When I say “WE” I mean my new coaching staff that is totally amazing and dedicated and energetic and FUN! The Competitive juices that I thought wouldn’t be needed this year Bubbled Up. How do we win?!? Let’s figure it out. AND WE DID. We talked about a FIGHT THEME. How I started taking fight classes (instead of dance…much more inspirational for a speech) and that we were in for a fight. How Boxing Matches aren’t won in the first round. We were ready to go the distance. And we did. Our women Won the Indoor Championship on the last race of the day, the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. The Men who had been really lagging the last few years just missed 2nd place and finished 3rd. I thought it was a pretty good Achievement. I felt like I was back: I felt like ME.
We start our Spring Break Trip. The weather was some of the best we’ve ever had. South Carolina was stunning. On one of my runs I ended up in a State Park where I saw numerous Alligators. My life was pretty good and exciting and interesting.
A week ago as I am writing this particular paragraph the SHIT started to hit the fan. We had two Women at the NCAA National Indoor Track & Field Meet with my Assistant Coach. We get an Email that the meet will be held with Limited Fans. Then another email that there would be NO SPECTATORS at all. One of our Qualifiers was a freshmen from California and her parents just flew in to North Carolina (where NCAA Meet was). Then 30 Min passed and the NCAA National Indoor Meet was cancelled. THEN so was the Outdoor NCAA National Meet. Ironically the night before in our NIGHTLY SPRING BREAK COACHES MEETINGS we thought we had a shot at Seven, yes 7, NCAA qualifiers for the Outdoor Meet. This announcement was a stomach Punch. We got an Email from the President of our college saying we were De-Densifying our campus and all spring Sports could stay and practice and compete while all classes would be online. Ok, this could be good. I could now practice at normal hours and be home for dinner with kids. Heck with not many people on campus I had plans to bring my own kids to practice.
Friday Morning, we depart early for our 2nd meet on Spring Break. We go in waves so people aren’t stuck at the meet all day as it was going to be warm that day. My Two Assistants take the first wave of athletes as their events were going first. I leave with a big group an hour later. On the way to the meet my Athletic Director calls me. He said to pull the team out…the President of the college instructed him to get us out. I call my Throws coach… we are done. Oh and the De-densifying the campus was OFF. Everyone was to go home. Three weeks we were told.
So there was no real instruction on WHEN to come home and we had the houses for two more nights. SO We stayed. It was to be the last two days of normal I think I would know. The Drive home was weird…I missed my kids tremendously and I had never had spent so much time away from them, but it was truly a re-energizing vacation and totally worth it. But I knew I was coming home to a brand new reality.
So now what. Once Home we were informed our season has been cancelled . My Saturdays and Sundays were either Track & Field Meets or Fun Adventure Stuff with the kids. NO MEETS and Now, NOTHING IS OPENED. Mon/Tues were filled with Kids stuff. The Rest of the Week were filled with Late Practices, Fitness Classes, an occasional Drink Out, Night Runs, and More Fitness Classes (its way better than being an alcoholic…because that is where I am worried I am headed). Now there is nothing. Every one of my Nightly activities has been Eliminated.
This is MY FAULT. I just WISHED FOR A BREAK. I am getting it . I don’t have to rush around to five different places anymore. I don’t have to keep two changes of clothes in the car anymore. There is nothing to change for, nothing to rush for. By Trying to always be EVERYWHERE, I am actually NOWHERE. I have perfected the art. Now, there is not an EVERYWHERE to be because most things have been eliminated. I am forced to be Me. I better figure out who that GUY is.