Being around kids for my entire life has, I think, allowed me to take life a little less seriously than most. However, from time to time, the fact that kids are so much a part of my life allows wisdom and understanding to emerge in places I would have never expected.
In my job as Head of a small private school in Idaho I am, like many school administrators, consumed with details and administrivia most of the time. But, in spite of that, I remain determined to keep in touch with the kids.
And, that is why I coach track.
We have four to seven kids on the team (depending on the day). We have two practices a week (if we're lucky) and five meets a season. Yet, in spite of all that we do pretty well.
Last year, one of our girls, Ellie Swanson, a 9th grader, qualified for the State Meet in the 100 and the 200. She didn't make it out of the first round but it was a start.
On to this year. The conversation goes something like this:
AJW: I think you could do well at the 400
Ellie: No way, that is way too long.
AJW: Just try it. Kind of like an experiment.
Ellie: You're just doing this because you're a crazy ultrarunner.
AJW: Just try it.
So, she tries it. And yesterday, in a conference meet Ellie ran the 4th fastest time in the District this year on her first try. Afterward, she says to me:
"That was actually kind of fun!"
And, her friend, the 1600 and 3200 meter runner chimes in,
"You have a good pain face!"
Maybe longer is better. Perhaps it's all about perspective.