This year I got to return to the track and see my favorite sport as the parent of an athlete. It’s been a joy to watch my son participate in an event that I love so much. We’ve done a lot of sports through the years and have had several coaches. This summer reminded me of what makes a good coach, a great coach. A coach that taught lessons at the time that went beyond the field and shaped my future.
I saw my favorite coach at one of the AAU meets and it was then that I really reflected on what he did for me twenty years ago. I loved all things sports related and tried just about everything offered at school. I loved track with all my heart and he recognized my potential early on.
Coach Hill had the patience of a saint while coaching a bunch of silly high school girls. Every afternoon and weekend he would show up, encourage and teach us. He wasn’t a coach who yelled or got upset, but rather brought out the best in us. Coach was very aware of our high school social lives, and discouraged me from dating less than stellar boys and told us when we were acting crazy. I can still remember him saying “Y’all don’t need those boyfriends.”
Coach Hill taught me how to handle pressure and competition. He helped me navigate the waters of college recruiters and the press. Coach traveled with us on far away meets and kept us entertained with movies and all kinds of nineties fun that we loved, like the mall. In addition, he kept us motivated and on track towards the goal of winning. I learned from him to always be the best I could be on and off the field. Some days weren’t perfect and he taught me that was okay too. Everybody has an off day. Because of his influence, I learned confidence on and off the field. Because I learned confidence, I went through a portfolio review in college, job interviews, parenting and running a business.