November 9, 2019- 4 am- Taylor, Texas- Holiday Inn
1st off if you have not listened to the current Dad Wilder Podcast or read yesterday's blog please do so! One hell of a job to the best janitor I know….
Rewind, November 2017, I was the Head Cross Country Coach for a team that was on the verge of maybe being good. This team had set a goal to finish Top 5 @ the State Cross Country Meet. The morning of the meet I was a wreck but tried not to show it. That team performed well and finished 4th in the state (a school record).
The next year I took a new job as the Assistant Cross Country Coach at the school that had won the 2017 Class A State Cross Country Championship. We were back in the same spot as a group that I had been in the year before. I had all the same feelings. Our girls team ended up tied for 1st, but in High School Cross Country, the tie goes to the 6th place team finisher and ours lost, so we finished as the runner-up. Our boys ended up winning the team title, which was by far the coolest accomplishment I have been apart of in my career in education.
Fast forward, November 9, 2019, the morning of the UIL/Texas State Cross Country Championships. I am sitting at the Holiday Inn in Taylor, Texas, we are 4 and a half hours from our girls race starting and I am eating Fruit Loops and writing this because I am a basket case again. The next part of this are the 5 thoughts that I have had before the biggest days of my teaching/coaching career… Keep in mind that I have slept all of about 2 hours so forgive me if I ramble.
- What could we have done different to allow our kids more success on this day? Despite what most think, being good at cross country does not happen overnight. We (coaches and athletes) began this process in late May/early June. So this is a culmination of 6 months worth of work for all involved.
- In the last 6 months, what have we taught our kids that will make them better as adults once the leave high school? Did the one who got hurt learn to respond to adversity? Did the #7 runners on the team of seven learn that everyone on the team matters just like everyone matters in life?
- What else can I do in the next four hours to help my kids prepare for the race? I never want my kids to walk into an event and feel unprepared. In my opinion, preparation in anything we do is vital to any success that we may have. These kids take each lesson they learn from (parents and educators) and use it to prepare them for their lives as adults.
- I hope the parents are as excited as I am for today. I cannot imagine walking in their shoes on a day like today. Their child is about to compete on one of the biggest stages in high school sports in our state. I am the uncle to 5 nephews and a niece and my brother is about as antsy as anyone without any added pressure. Add his kids to the picture and he is a straight up nutt! Parents do not understand how thankful us coaches are for them to share their children with us!
- Finally, I just hope my kids know that I am proud of them! When you see kids grow up, literally, in a season or over a course of 4 years it is truly amazing. Each year some leave us and others get to stay for another year or even three. As year one has become year nine for me I appreciate my kids more and more. I also realize that I am forever in debt to them for teaching me lessons each day, as well as, for allowing me to be a small part of their journey through this life.
We will see how the day goes….. #GoHornets