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Jason Retz Coaching Blogs, Distance, Illinois HS Cross Country, Opinion 5 Comments

By By Jason Retz
St. Joseph-Ogden Cross Country & Track

Every team does their “thing”, but most successful programs have one thing in common. They care more about the kid than they do the kids running success.

That’s our “thing.”

Who cares what you win or lose? Who cares how fast you run? As a distance coach I spend nearly every day of the year with or trying to help my athletes. And I love it! Why? Because I have the opportunity to work with young men and women I would consider part of my family. Actually, they are a part of my family! My wife gets upset with them when they knock on the door when we have a team event at our house. Family is always welcome in my house no questions asked!

We start the summer like most with a team event where we try to not only introduce the freshmen to the running family but also to tighten the bond we have with each other. The journey we are setting out on is much easier to do as a family and not as a group of individuals working for a goal. November is the only month of racing importance for our program, but the steps along the way are what make success in November achievable. Some programs don’t use words like work hard, sacrifice, or suffer. We do! And every day I give thanks and recognize the fact that most kids are not willing to do what they do. I get to work with the best of the best. I get to work with my family!

Let’s be honest it’s not a 5x1000m or 16x200m that make or break our teams. It’s enjoying the suffering and enjoying the journey. We don’t play games, we don’t frolic on runs. We work hard. Really, really hard. But we embrace it and understand the work we put in rewards us. Not always by trophies or medals, but by pushing the human body as hard as it will go and asking for more. My family gives me a sad look when I cut their mileage back. My family loves to work. By the end of the summer we’ll know what we have. Will we have the bond of a family or will we have a group of individuals working for a goal? 2017, we have a family.

Comments 5

  1. Been to an SJO practice in person and can back this up totally. A cold and snowy January track practice was a family affair. Great stuff Coach Retz!

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