That’s what my boys call them- “Mommy’s Track Girls.”
Sometimes opportunities arise just when they are needed, and sometimes the people you need are there at just the right time.
As I type on the eve of the last day of the 2013 state meet and I look back on a season that saw only one warm and sunny meet, I think of my Dad, and I miss him. I really wish he was sitting next to me, with his video camera, timing splits on his watch, and giving me a hug at the end of my girls’ races. He was proud of me. I knew that. And I think that’s why track was, IS, so special to me. It’s what I did with him.
He always told the story about my very first track meet. I had just turned 5 and could finally run in the Iowa Games! He said I insisted on running the whole way around the track! That was the first of many times I was announced as “Erica, daughter of Steve Lynn the ISU track coach!” I know many people don’t understand it, but I took a lot of pride in that special shout out. In fact, when people still recognize me as his daughter, I feel proud.
Tonight, that feeling of pride stirs strongly in me, even amidst my grief. After Dad died in January, the thought of starting a track season without him just seemed… hard. I think I was scared that it was something that would hit me in the face again and prove to me my dad isn’t here, and I really don’t like that feeling. But honestly, this track season hasn’t been hard…it’s been healing.
The girls I coach, “Mommy’s Track Girls,” have been with me for three and four years now, and together we’ve had a lot of success on the track. People always want to congratulate me after my girls win a big meet, or set a new record, and I think, “I really haven’t done anything.” See in my opinion, when you coach good kids, coaching is easy. And I don’t mean ‘good’ as in talent, I mean ‘good’ as in the kind of girl you’d want your daughter to grow up to be.
Even though my girls are smart, caring, and mature, I honestly don’t think they will ever understand what they mean to me, and ultimately what they have done for me. My girls knew Dad. They welcomed him with open arms. That always meant a lot to me- that they respected him and allowed him to continue to do something he was so passionate about. At Dad’s visitation, they were the first faces I saw, the first I got to hug. I will never forget that, and I will always be so grateful. Because at that moment I felt such a special connection. That even though Dad is gone, track can continue to be special to me, that I can find pride being recognized as “Coach” myself, and that track can be special because I can do it with friends.
“Mommy’s Friends!” That’s what I feel we should call them now!
To My Girls, Alyssa, Maddie, Emily, Emma, and Mal,
I am SO Proud of you. I thank God for you. And I thank you for being my friend and being there for me when I needed it most. You are more than just great athletes, you are great people. I pray the rest of your steps are just as swift and that you clear hurdles with just as much grace. XOXO- Coach D
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1