A long time ago I had dreams of running in the Olympics. I badly wanted to prove everyone wrong and run at the highest level. As fate would have it I tore my hamstring repeatedly and my career as an athlete would not materialize like I wanted. I went to college and spent more time hurt then healthy. Through it all I learned what it felt like to be the fastest kid on the block and what it felt like to be an injured scrub. My experience as an athlete gave me a unique perspective as a coach. No matter an athlete’s talent level I had been in their shoes at some point. Another factor that helped my coaching is my demons. I have said before “be thankful for your past demons as they become your greatest teachers.” I have been knocked down, laughed at, and even called a charlatan. As a young person I was a sensitive kid and that led to a lot of school yard fights. As scaring as this can be in a young person’s life I was lucky to have great parents and friends. These two positive influences allowed me to keep things in perspective for what I wanted to do with my life. I hoped to honor these positive influences as a coach and as a teacher by trying to changing young peoples lives for the better. Kids ask me all the time “coach what can I give you for all you have done?” I just quickly respond “A college t-shirt.” Why a t-shirt? It is always nice to have more clothing to train in but more importantly a t-shirt gives me a chance to brag about my kids. I cannot tell you how many people have started a conversation with me about these t-shirts. These conversations allow you to be instantly connected with people you would have never met otherwise. Additional these t-shirts create a chance for me to share a wonderful story about young people who gave their heart to a school, program, and sport. A major goal in my life as an educator and coach is to have so many t-shirts I need a new house! I hope as time moves forward those young people will buy me a meal, a drink, or heck sing karaoke with me. Even more years into the future and my time on this planet is over I want the young people who I have influenced to share great stories over my casket. Maybe they will have a couple of these t-shirts on. Maybe I will take a few in my casket with me because you know it will be fun to brag in heaven. Happy New Year. Remember you never know today might be your chance to change a life forever.