It’s these seemingly simple people that prove to be far beyond great. We often tend to sum them up based on size, stature, intellect and whatever else the world deems important. And then we limit them in our own minds. What a tragedy.
11 years ago I met a peculiar fella named Coach Sechlar. He headed-up the cross country team and distance portion of the track team. My middle son Kevin was a new freshman and he had joined cross country. Needless to say, I was thrilled!
Now I admit, to me, he didn’t look the part of a cross country coach and as far as I know, he never ran in his life. I wondered what does he offer these young runners. I wondered what his coaching style was like and if he understood the mechanics of this great sport.
I’d been running and competing years. Running is a large part of my world and I made it, actually required it, to be a part of my boy’s world. I’ve trained them, taught them, and coached them. What could he possibly impart to my son that I hadn’t?
There’s always some illegitimate ego or pride when someone stands in a place you have stood for so long. Awe, the wonderful world of reshaping. Humility is a good thing. We could all use a little more. I recognized early on that Coach would meet needs of this adolescent boy that I just couldn’t.
See, Coach was more than a simple cross country coach. He loved these kids. He poured into them everything he had. And no, that is not a cliche because he’s now gone, that is fact. He was steadfast in his commitment not only to the team but each student who ran for him.
He wanted to win of course he did. Tell me, what coach doesn’t? But more than that, he loved loving those kids. He studied them. He learned their temperaments and attitudes and adjusted accordingly. He rallied around and cheered on every runner on that team. He was incredibly gracious to all of the team, even those who weren’t so gracious to him. And sadly, there were more than a few.
He loved my son. He made captain of the team. At every turn of his high school career Coach was there spurring him on to that better runner. This “simple” man was no simple man in Kevin’s life. He believed in Kevin. He believed in him from the time he walked on that track. He saw something in that an insecure new student and pushed it towards fruition.
He was there on college night when Kevin got his scholarship to Simpson. Kevin picked him as the most inspirational coach. He was there because Kevin wanted him there. Hmmm… what did he teach him about cross country? Probably nothing more than what I taught him, but it was the way he spelled it out. Kevin knew and understood Coach was in his corner and had his back.
My son went on to run in college, and he did more than well. Kevin is a product of a dedicated coach who was there for one reason only, and it wasn’t because he loved running. He loved the kids.
A simple man named Coach Sechlar made a huge difference. He made lasting imprints. And isn’t that what coaching is all about?
1 Corinthians 1:27
but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things and the things that are not to nullify the things that are.
Thank you God for choosing Coach Sechler to be a part of my son’s life. Your fingerprints are all over him!￼￼
You will be missed and never forgot.
“Open your stride!!!!”