When most people think of coaches and athletes an image of an athletic, strong individual comes to mind. Sadly, there is also a lack of intelligence and admirable character qualities associated with this perception. Though there are many that fit this persona perfectly, it's the ones that defy it that make for a truly unique and life charging experience. I was lucky enough to meet such a man.
Freshman year in high school is an exciting, yet challenging experience. It was something new and different that I enjoyed, while at the same time it pushed me to new levels I did not know I could reach, both mentally and physically. The academic work load came at a slow steady pace that steadily increased over time, but the athletic demand was set unreachably high on day one. The first person I noticed was my strength and conditioning coach. This man stood neatly six feet tall and weighed nearly twice as much as I did, consisting of one hundred percent muscle: quite an intimidation for a kid straight out of junior high.
As the months passed and the football practices became the memories that bonded our team, I began to see the man that was hidden beneath that powerful exterior. The more time we spent together, the more he began to open up and lose his guise of intimidation. My sophomore year I was the only 10th grader to make and start on the varsity football team. The pressure to achieve perfection was overwhelming at times, but my coach proved to be more than a teacher and extended his friendship and guidance when I needed it the most. The football seasons were a true test of character, but I learned the most during the offseason.
Thought the first few weeks were extremely difficult and seemed as though they would never end, we persevered. After more reps in the weight room and sprints completed on the track than I could count, I began to see my body change for the better. Along with building new muscle, my coach had constructed a new, much stronger work ethic....
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