They call me coach.
I’m still not used to this. I’m not a sports guy. Coach was never in my vocabulary. But after three seasons of Girls on the Run, I claim the title, not because I have some brilliant insight into athletic performance, but because coaching GOTR is not about running: it’s about supporting developing character, strength, confidence, kindness and other beautiful traits in girls.
This season I was once again blessed with great co-coaches. Coach Ali joined us again and let us use her classroom as our meeting space. Having a third grade teacher who actually knows this age group is a big plus. We welcomed a third coach, Jenny Ruth, who was really great with the girls. I’d vote her rookie of the year in a heartbeat. Actually, I really pulled back from leading lessons this season. I was happy to just be support. I would throw in my 2cents when it might be helpful, but I was quite happy to let the women lead.
We had a team of 12 this season, and the program overall had lots of girls. Between girls, running buddies, and other runners, we had over 600 registrations. Thankfully, we had chip timing from PA Runners this year. It made the finish line a lot cleaner.
Last season I did balloon wings for my girls, so there was an expectation I’d do another balloon project. The girls were all big fans of the Minions from Despicable Me. I would often turn into coach GRU and take attendance with an accent. They even demanded new Minion names. So when race time rolled around, it was clear what the project would be.
Of course, I had to be Gru. Shave the head, the beard, add a large coat, running tights, comically large scarf, and a pointy nose.
There is an unfortunate side note to this costume. To keep that nose balloon in place, I had to put a couple anchor bubbles at the base. In the finish line picture, you can barely see them. I figured out a way to make them nearly invisible. But……. my first iteration was a little more clunky. Meaning larger. So, what I’m saying is that many people who have a better eye for symbolism noticed a resemblance right away. Too bad we took a bunch of photos and a video before I fixed it.
I really didn’t mean to do that. But the photos are out, too late now. I am just glad I fixed it before the race.
It was a great morning with a great program. Though they love to be the minions, I feel more like this