I help Lorenzo Eagles and Joe Halin coach the Moorestown Cross Country team (www.moorestownxc.org). It is the favorite thing I do. We have a great and fun team, growing from under 20 guys to over 50 guys the past four years. We have a mix of guys on the team - some putting in a tremendous amount of effort doing 50+ miles per week year round, and others who just really enjoy being on the team, competing and running at a level they are comfortable with.
Today was the State Meet. Our team did great, running a team average time of 17:10, which is a school record at Holmdel. We qualified to go on to the Meet of Champions next week, which is a great honor.
Now to the point - I was talking to another coach after the race. He was yelling because he was so upset (red in the face upset). Apparently one of his runners did not run up to his expectations and "cost them moving on to the Meet of Champions." He recounted at high decibels that this "f-ing kid" lost X places over the last mile, how he "had no guts", "let his teammates down" and as Arlo Guthrie would say "all sorts of mean, nasty things."
How can someone who is supposed to help guide high school students act like this? Is he trying to set an example of what NOT to do? Come on, these are high school students. Plenty of people have bad days every day. Maybe it was the Coach's fault in not preparing his team or that runner well enough.
We had a couple of guys not run up to their potential today as well. We were happy as a team that we did well. We consoled the guys who did not run as well as they had hoped, encouraging them to run better on another day. They beat themselves up enough as it is - they don't need coaches and teammates pointing fingers. Running is a sport that hopefully these guys will do for many years to come - we want to provide them encouragement to continue their running.
Anyway, let's all take a breath when something does not go our way. There is no need to blame a high school runner...