I wear many hats: wife, mom, church volunteer, middle school teacher and track coach. It is a busy life but I love each part of it for different reasons.
I absolutely love coaching. I get the opportunity to coach the students that I teach during the day. I love getting to know my students on another level. It is so much fun and I really enjoy sharing my love for the sport.
|This was me running the anchor leg in the 4x400 relay at the University of Pennsylvania. This was the largest crowd I ever ran in front of.|
I love that our school has a track team. I attended and graduated from the school where I teach and coach. Back when I was a student there, we only had three sports soccer, basketball and base/softball. We didn't have a track team. I didn't have the opportunity to run until I got to college. I didn't even know that I was fast.
When I got to college I played soccer in the fall and planned to play softball in the spring. I wasn't very good at softball but it was all I knew. I did well playing soccer in college and received many awards and even got to be the team MVP. That is hard to achieve as a defensive player. MVP usually goes to the offensive players, the ones that score the goals. I was content with just being a soccer player.
After one of my soccer games the track coach from the college came up to me and asked me what my plans were for the spring. I told him I planned to play softball. He asked if I would come over to the track and run for him so that he could time me. I was surprised and confused. Why would a college track coach want to see me run? I was amused so even though I had just played a full soccer game I agreed.
|This is me at Nationals in 1995 in Texas. I met James Beckford who was a long/triple jumper at the meet. He went on to win the silver medal competing for Jamaica at the 1996 Olympics the next year.|
The really funny thing is this would be the very first time I had ever stepped foot on a track. My high school didn't have a track. The coach put 10 hurdles on the track and told me to run the 400m hurdles. I asked him how many times around 400m was. Like I said, I had never been on a track so I didn't know. He told me that he had a hunch that I would be a good hurdler and to run over the 10 hurdles and run one time around the track as fast as I could.
When I crossed the line I felt like I was going to die. That was a tough race to run. I was in pretty good shape from playing soccer but I was tired from playing in the game that day. The coach told me that the time I ran broke the school record for the 400m hurdles. What?!? I told him that I didn't run track. The coach laughed and told that I did now.
So needless to say, I joined the track team. It was a whirlwind! I look back now and I feel sorry for my coaches. They had no idea what to do with me. I could run so fast but I had absolutely no running form or experience. It was amazing to go from never running track to the National meet in a matter of weeks!
I found the sport that I loved! I ran all of the sprints and hurdles from 55m to 400m. I went to Nationals for almost every one of those events. I even achieved All American status with my best showing being 5th in the 55m at Nationals in 1996. I got the opportunity to travel all around the country to some of the best colleges: Florida State, George Mason, Boston University, William and Mary, University of Wisconsin, University of Pennsylvania and more!
|At Florida State University I was seeded high enough to race in the 400m hurdles against the world record holder Kim Batten! She won the silver medal that year at the 1996 Olympics. She was gracious enough to take a picture with me after she beat me!|
Because I had so little experience running, my form was ugly. It lead to frequent injuries. My career ended when college ended. I had a few offers to train professionally. They didn't appeal to me because of the injuries and because I really wanted to be a teacher. I had hoped to one day become a track coach and share my love of the sport. I am so glad that my high school has a track team now that I can be a part of!
My students can't understand why I would choose being a teacher over being a professional athlete. I don't regret my decision. I believe that I am right where the Lord wants me to be! I am making an impact in the lives of children and I love it!