Since the 7th grade, JT has run for the cross country team in the fall. He started running under the direction of the amazing Coach L, a man who is as gentle as he is strong and whose patience with kids is extraordinary. Those Middle School cross country years started slow, though JT ran well and liked it immediately. When he started high school two years ago, he joined the cross country team in the fall. This coach, a different Coach L, is funny and strong, and a fan of a work ethic. JT respects her and looks to meet her ambitious expectations. For two years running, he’s earned the Iron Man award, a distinction given to team members who never miss practice. JT is a never-miss-practice kind of kid, so this challenge was right up his alley.
JT is a moderately good runner, with the tenacity to go long distances and enough energy to finish strong. He’s an even better teammate, who has steadily brought his friends into the sport. Last winter, when the cross country season had ended and wrestling was just under way, he and a group of wrestlers headed out on the cold mornings for some extra runs to maintain conditioning. Something truly clicked on those mornings and a runner was born.
Throughout the spring and into the summer, he ran nearly every day. He made easy 5 and 6 mile distance runs; he ran sprints; he ran tempo drills. He was excited for the start of practice; the arrival of weekends finds him consulting Coach L’s instructions and going out for a run.
On the weekends, Lucy the cat takes over coaching duties. She's gone from supervising a little boy who played with Playmobil and ran around in the back yard to supervising homework and athletic practice. She watches from the window when JT steps out the front door.
She stays in the front window while he stretches outside, a watchful eye on her boy.
She looks on as he consults his watch and sets his timer.
And then he is off.
Lucy retreats for a nap, but stays downstairs because her boy will be back soon. She must be ready to supervise the post-run shower and snack.