Hug Your Track Kids
Parents, coaches, friends and family, the end of the season for many of our athletes came a few weeks ago. While we still have hundreds of kids from AZ who will continue on at region and national competition events this summer, let's just take a quick pause to appreciate the tremendous job all of these young people have done throughout another long track season (and even some who have been running since cross country).
Let's remember that what is so special about track and field compared to many other sports is the ability to see real personal improvement week to week. I know on my team (The Phoenix Flyers) we have many kids who made huge improvements in their respective events from the first meet to the AZ State JO Meet. Some made it for the first time to the Region meet. Some jumped farther than they ever thought possible. Others learned a new event and flourished. I'm sure on your teams you have much of the same things occurring.
While coaches, parents and friends are all looking forward to how our kids place in Colorado and North Carolina (and those who already competed in New York at Youth Nationals) in the weeks ahead, please do not lose sight that these kids are...well kids, frankly. And while it's awesome and a source of pride for parents/coaches when one of our AZ kids makes it to the podium at State, Region and National competitions, remember that track and field doesn't define these young people - nor should it. These kids love playing other sports, snow cones, hanging with friends, sleeping and a multitude of other endeavors that aren't track and field.
As I have witnessed over the years while being a part of the USATF AZ community, many of us seem to understand that and it's great to see. I think this is why many of our top athletes continue to thrive after youth track, after high school track and some even after collegiate track. We are just planting the seeds today, not how to just compete while running, throwing or jumping, but in life, itself...
We should all hug our kids and tell them we love them and how proud we are of them for getting out there on the track and giving it their best effort - because that's all anyone can really ask of themselves...
Good luck to all of you who are still competing. But no matter what happens in the weeks that follow with your athletes, remember to be their rock and support because that's what they are all really looking for from us.