When is a coach not a coach?

ORN: Wed - 6 miles, 2 degrees, 48:39.

Thurs- nothing. Rest day.

I came across this post earlier today, and it almost made my blood boil. Not because of anything that the blogger did, but because of the "coach". Go ahead and go read the story. I'll wait.


(Synopsis for those who don't want to follow the link - blogger is asked to quit the CC team in HS because she is not fast enough. Nevermind that the team doesn't have tryouts or anything.)

Back? Okay. So, I have a couple of beefs with that coach.

First off, for those who are unaware, high school CC races are typically scored like this: each runner is given a point value, equal to their place. So, the first runner across the line is worth 1 point, the second is worth 2, and so on. Only the top 5 runners from each team are scored - so it is possible, in a head-to-head race, for one team to have 15 points (1+2+3+4+5) and the other to have 40 (6+7+8+9+10). Of course, if one team has runners who also take, for example, sixth and seventh place, you can see a score of 15-50, and, like golf, the low score wins.

So, really, the five fastest runners are important. Having a couple runners who are not quite fast enough to place in the top five, but who might be able to bump a couple of opposing runners down a notch, are useful too. Since it is a team sport, having the first runner (or even the first three) across the line does not guarantee victory.

But really, unless there is a massive shortage of spaces on the team bus or the locker room, or a dearth of uniforms, there is no need to cut slower runners. Heck, on my CC team, we had several guys who were very slow - we're talking 28 minutes for 3 miles. (I know, for some this is fast - but in last years state meet, the boys winning time was 14:18. 28 minutes is not going to be scoring any points - but the kid never stopped running in a race, and was often dead last, but he kept going. That's a winner, in my book - albeit one much slower than 14:18.)

Cutting someone who is not likely to be scoring anyway is pointless. The coach should have told the blogger that, while she could keep running, she was probably never going to score any points for their team, and, as long as she was okay with that, then she should stick with it. Heck, I don't think I scored anything for my team in 3 years of running. I never did get much faster than I did on my first year - but I still enjoyed doing it. It's one of my few good memories of high school, and my couch was a significant influence in my life.

Anyway, that's my $.02. Just because someone isn't the best doesn't mean that they shouldn't be allowed to participate.


Blogger runr53 said...

And you didn't comment on her blog why? Just askin.... Run Good! P.S. Thanks for the link!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Garou said...

I let her know that I wrote a comment on mine - it seemed a little long to be posting as a comment.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Wes said...

Well said! That whole episode was ridiculous, but all kinds of crap went on like that back in those days.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Fat Girl said...

Hey there,
Sorry I didn't comment sooner. I read this the day you wrote me about it. I agree with you that just because someone is not the best, they should not be excluded.

It's not a huge memory for me or anything. It didn't "totally ruin my self esteem and make me a mass murderer" or anything like that! I knew that her opinion didn't affect me as a person, the thing was...I took her at her word that I should never run. I assumed that she had some "coachly knowledge" that made her priviledge to this information. That's really the only sad part about it. It wasn't until a little later in my life that I realized that her opinion didn't mean poop and that speed really doesn't matter.
Thanks for your comments and I enjoy your blog.



10:56 PM  

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