Reveling While We Can...

The Girls 7A race from state 2020 was a classic battle between powerhouses Hillgrove and Marietta. And it looks all set up to be another thrilling battle between these two teams.

Reveling While We Can... 

Just trying to take it all in, you know. I'm convinced we're supposed to enjoy this Earth trip, though we've all been there when we don't.

Anyway, sitting at home while my phone is exploding with text messages. If you're a cross country coach on Game Day - or the coach of any sport for that matter - I'll set the over/under for texts you'll get at 100.

I'll bet the over and I'll win every time. Pictures. Quotes. Random comments. Questions. Thoughts. More pictures. More questions.

Do we get to do this again?

Once upon a time, as a coach, I thought you had two choices. One, win with a bunch of jerks or be mediocre with good kids. Unlike some people, I actually love it when I'm wrong. It means I learned something, the Heavens know more than I do (Thank God!), and that there's an adventure to all of this.

I'm thinking back on our region meet, as a man who has no clue how to defend himself, yet he'd stand in the fire with every kid around him. It's a good feeling, yes? The fact that they're good runners is just gravy - as if you've lived long enough you've been around and for good teams and bad. You've blown leads but you've come from behind.

You've celebrated. You've thrown things.

Pardon me while I answer these 12 texts.

The biggest smile to me came from one of our kids who barely made the region team as the seventh man. Earlier he finished seventh in the whole region, keeping his team alive his senior year. I followed him around for a while, I did, even though I was supposed to be doing other things.

I just had to see that look; you know. That facial expression of someone who just persevered and kept going and kept trying and hung in there and just didn't quit. I like to think that succeeding, not necessarily winning, is contagious.

There wasn't anything I needed to say to the kid; as a coach the one major thing I've learned is when to shut up and stay out of the way, but still. Watching how our youth go about things is time well spent for the most part, it's a reminder there's plenty of different ways to get things done.

How did he get so fast at the perfect time? I don't know, maybe God moved him, used the odd second to put some extra wind at his back. Still, while fully understanding there's no 'I' in team, there are times when the 'M' and the 'E' that form the word 'me' also comes into play. After all, you want to contribute, play your part. It's the moment when the M and the E and the "no I" all unit, come together despite the opposite meanings.

Sometimes things happen that make you throw the blueprints out with the 8-track tapes. Your canned speech from yesterday? Rip it up and toss it. It's borderline useless anyway.

For what it's worth, our teams lived to fight another day - a very comprehensive course in Carrollton awaited us, a course that will never let you celebrate for long. It's unforgiving - some courses you can run dumb and survive on talent.

Not this time. It's a place where your 'A' game doesn't always cut it - you must search, hope and pray for your 'A-plus'. Maybe hope for some luck on top of all that.

Anyway, good for us. Good for the art of education, in and out of the classroom and it's too bad some people don't think they go together. Good for that kid - I couldn't sleep because the glow of his smile made my room too bright.

Still, it was a good restless night if that makes any sense. Energy, after all, is energy. We roll with it.

Sorry for this, but you have to take the time to soak things up, yes? My advice is to take the time, put away your buzzing cell phone. Call a time out and take more than 30 seconds like those basketball breaks do.

And who knew? While I slept - when I finally did - I found out even our professional teams are enjoying good years. I don't watch - and you're welcome for that because they lose when I do.

I found out in one of my 117 texts

Dunn Neugebauer
Holder of lots of jobs
Author, coach, nice guy-
2019 GHSA Girls' XC State Champions
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