I recently had my first Cross-Country meet, and this time not as a runner, but as the Head Coach of a Women's Collegiate Cross-Country team. As the runners warmed up for the race, I felt myself starting to get nervous. I stretched out my arms and legs, and my heart started to race. It wasn't easy to remind myself that I wasn't actually running the race; this time I had to prepare others to do so. I calmed myself down and began to focus all my adrenaline into the athletes on the team. I told them what some good racing tactics would be, and what times they should aim for. I told them to stretch out and warm-up well. I then tried to come up with some clever cheer, but let's just say I need to work on that. As I saw the runners in the midst of the race, I began cheering loudly at them to pick it up, and pass their competitors. I knew exactly what they were going through, and was proud that I was able to relate to each of them in that way. As they each sprinted down the straight-away and crossed the finish line I then realized that I have now crossed into another turning point of my athletic career; they now call me Coach.
Even though I was upset I wasn't able to run the race, I was overjoyed by the fact that I was able to pass over my passion for running and competition to the women on the team. It is an amazing feeling to offer advice for a sport which you love, and share it with those who have the same love.
Sport in my life has not ended because my collegiate participation has ended. Sport is a part of me, and it always will be.