To my High School Coach,
I am not sure whether you know who I am but am guessing you don't. We never met but I heard about you. I was the best long-distance runner in the School District and probably still have the School 10km record. I certainly did during your tenure, and that wasn't for lack of competition. Some weekends 4 or 5 of us would be out at a race trying to break it.
Keep in mind that the school received no glory for 2 of 3 podium spots in the 17-and-under division being filled by students from your school. We wore club colors or random clothes; we didn't feel we were representing the School or District and we weren't. You didn't even know we were out there, training after school most days (sometimes before). We hung out at G Wing and that's where the afternoon session usually began. Occasionally we'd be on the track and some other guys that I, of course, knew would be there. I suspect these were your team but I didn't have access to the team roster so I didn't really know.
I wanted you to know that you had no influence on my development as an athlete (different age group now but competitive within it) or as a whole individual. You never counseled nor advised me in matters athletic or otherwise. We never spoke. I heard talk about you, though. How you were an assistant football coach in the Fall Semester and coached Track and Field in the Spring. How much was true? Who knew... You may not remember this, but my main training partner once asked you (Senior Year, I believe) if he could run for the team. You declined his offer.
I never made such an offer. It's not that I had anything against you, it's just that you had nothing to offer me. I didn't sprint, jump, nor throw like the off-season football players that you were able to keep an eye on for much of the year. Didn't want them to get out of shape or into trouble. Basically, it was not you, it was me.
The only sport I was good at when I was 15 was long-distance running. Your program didn't offer that. I didn't participate in it. What I didn't realize was that running very regularly and being competitive at it, but not doing it for the glory of the School, would be controversial generations later. When I was a student the races I went to were swamped with teenagers.
Among that crowd it would have seemed weird to HAVE joined the Team. The races in question were often right in the middle of the school year so it was obvious that the road racers, at least those in front of me in our Division at a local marathon, had as much to do with their Track Teams as I had with ours. The School, Team, and quite frankly, Coach, just didn't offer anything we needed.
Perhaps now that you know I exist, you wonder if my talents could have been utilized by your team. I was, after all, a student in good standing with the School. On the Honor Roll, in fact, so probably eligible to participate. Well, they couldn't have. You didn't compete in any event at which I was competitive. No loss, then, that we didn't cross paths. I would just like you to know that in spite of the lack of contact or influence from you I have grown and succeeded at many endeavors. Thank you for reading.