[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]
I was invited to give a speech to the student-athletes from the conference I went to high school in. The speech is below-enjoy!
Thanks for having me. It’s really good to be back home, I grew up outside of Colfax and it wasn’t so long ago that I was sitting in a room like this, listening to someone like me talk about who knows what.
I graduated from Colfax High School in 2011. Just like you all, I was a scholar athlete. I was valedictorian of my class, ran cross country/track and played basketball as well. I was asked here today to talk to you about being a scholar athlete-what that means, what that takes, and how I’ve used the skills I learned as a scholar athlete in my life and in my career.
I started running in sixth grade, mostly out of boredom. At the time, I didn’t know what cross country was, but one of my friends asked me to join so I did. I’m really glad I did because I loved running. I loved how free it felt and how strong my body felt after a few months of training. I live in California now, and when I tell people that I graduated high school with 60 people, they can’t believe it. Sometimes they laugh. Sometimes they make jokes about me growing up in the boondocks, in a tiny redneck town far from everything they know and care about. Sometimes, they wonder what it must have been like to grow up in such a small place, where everything is contained and where the edges are always within reach.
What a lot of people don’t realize though, is that being in a smaller school meant that there was continuity in my life that might not have been there otherwise. I was coached by Joe Doucette from sixth grade all the way through my high school career, and I’ve told a million people this, but he is, to this day, the best coach I’ve ever had. He was committed to helping every athlete achieve their full potential. If we showed up, he showed up. I remember training for the Footlocker National Championships which was a cross country race that happened after the normal cross-country season was over. So, one Saturday morning, I went to basketball practice and stayed after to run. Coach Doucette stayed with me and even ran with me as I did 1,000 meter repeats behind the school…