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Submitted by Kathy Gagnier, Cross-Country and Track Coach, Colonial High School; Running Club, Downtown Orlando YMCA
I have been a volunteer coach for three years. I enjoy encouraging girls to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I am not very good at putting words together to tell you why I do what I do. I guess that’s one reason why “I just do it.”
I had a coach in 7th and 8th grade for basketball who had to be at least 60. She was a little ole granny (we were all taller than she was) who volunteered for several years. She coached me and my three sisters so she must have put in a good eight years of her time. We all loved her. We took her for granted, we never thanked her. But I do remember her and I now realize what she did for us girls.
I like coaching the high school girls. When I first started running cross country with them three years ago, I couldn’t even run that slow! They were so so slow! They have come a long way, this year was just the second time in the history of the school that the girls qualified for the state meet!
Each and every kid is completely different. Bringing them all together is like trying to glue a bunch of random objects with all different shapes and sizes together into a ball with not very strong glue! They can fall apart so easily. A few words here and a pat on the back there can make a huge difference. You just never know what they need.
The thing is, the girls work hard and they accomplish things. I don’t put in the work, so I can’t take credit for their successes. I can just admire them for doing their best! I try to lead by example, and some of them follow and some just quit. Some eventually start putting in a lot of effort.
Runners are mostly all wonderful people, they are driven and they are confident. If I can get some of my girls to adopt a healthy lifestyle then I will have accomplished something. Maybe one of them will pass it along.