The News Herald Track and Field Championship

I know this blog is supposed to focus on literacy and technology but today I decide to take a little sidetrack.  That is just the way my mind works actually.  Today I would like to write about The News Herald Track and Field Championship meet at Grosse Ile High School.  Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of this fine event.  I guess this is related in a way, since I am blogging for The News Herald.

Yesterday marked my 13th News Herald meet as the Boys' head Track and Field Coach at Carlson High School.  For the past 13 years I have spent the second or third Saturday in May at this wonderful event.  I still remember walking into the stadium as a 23 year old rookie coach, knowing little to nothing about track and field.  I was scared to death as I walked into the pre-meet coaches meeting.  However the late, great Mr. Steve Sims, the girls' track and field coach at Grosse Ile at that time soon put my fears to rest.  He welcomed and accepted me as an equal immediately.  This from a gentleman that had been coaching for years, including running an impressive undefeated streak in the Huron League.  I was just a 23 year old "kid" trying to figure out what was going on at this huge championship meet.  Steve was always a gracious host, along with meet manager Bill Stevenson (full disclosure, Bill is my boss at Carlson High School, however I felt this way about Bill for years even before he came over to Carlson).  Even Ray Geist (who thinks my photo on The News Herald page looks like a mug shot) was always good to me whenever I came over to coach at the meet.  Ray was the boys' coach for years at GI and today still helps manage and score the meet.  Grosse Ile athletic director, Jim Okler who works so hard on this meet also treated me so well throughout the years.  The managers of the meet, as well as all of the volunteers make this one of the best track and field meets in the state.

I walked into this meet yesterday with full intentions of it being my final News Herald meet as the boys' track and field coach at Carlson High School.  I love my team, the sport and my fellow coaches on staff.  I just started feeling "burnt out."  I know, that is a lame cop out, but it is true.  My own children are getting older, and I have their activities to attend.  I also was beginning to question if I was even that good of a coach due to some issues in the past month.  There was no doubt this was going to be my last season.  I had made it clear to my staff (they were already talking with coaches from other schools to try and recruit a replacement) that I would be submitting my papers at the end of the season.  Then it happened, Saturday turned out to be one of the best meets of my coaching career.  Of course the day started off very well, enjoying one those fine Italian Sausages with peppers and onions for lunch.  Since it was my final meet I bought one for each of my coaches.  In the past 13 seasons I have ate so many of these things.  I still think I have the record for earliest sausage consumed, 9:43 a.m.  Not too sure though, I will have to get Scott Held to pull up the News Herald record sheet for that information.

The weather was perfect all day and my team performed exceptionally.  My boys' finished in 5th place bringing home a trophy for the showcase in Gibraltar (this matches the teams best performance in the past 13 seasons).  My top distance runner had an excellent day, winning the mile and two mile while bringing home "Athlete of the Meet" honors.  The meet ran so smooth (shout outs again to Ray, Jim and Bill and to all the volunteers).  We were finished by 3:30.  A great day like this really makes me rethink my decision to retire.

To wrap up, I just again want to say thanks to Jim Okler, Bill Stevenson, Ray Geist, the staff of The News Herald and all of the volunteers.   I also wish to send a special thanks to the late Steve Sims.  You have all helped shape me into the coach I am today.  Whether this is my final News Herald meet or not still has to be determined, but one thing is for sure, when I do go, I surely be missing this fine event.


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