Your Stories: Kathy Gagnier

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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!

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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.

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