Yes, I do realize that I’m a lucky man. I have a great job where my employer treats me with respect and as a valued member of the team. I get to be involved with some very cool projects that (I hope) make for better communities.
I have a great family that has provided much fulfillment in my life. I don’t always let them know as much as I should how much they mean to me. Life would be pretty dark and empty without them. My wife Erin has put up with me for almost 30 years now. She’s an amazing woman who has supported me in my many wild and weird running adventures. She’s a smart, kind and caring person who has been the binding force for our wonderful family.
My kids are incredible. Son Nick has made his way as a great mind in the world of science – he’s now working on his doctorate in Human Genetics at Univ. of Chicago – that great mind is something else that he got from his mother. He’s brought a great wife (Katie) into our family. And, now he’s bringing us our 1st grand-baby – a little bundle of pink!!!!! My “little man” has put a smile on my face so many times.
My little Zoe-Boe……………..what a great young woman. 2 years of college completed – all at the highest level of academic performance. Good summer job at Ted’s Montana Grill. Great group of friends. All that a father could hope for.
And, what a great, wide, wonderful circle of friends that I have – many, if not most, who have come to me through my running pursuits. Especially those from my time in Billings and more recently in my Plains/Missoula/NW Montana endeavors. But also from my time in Kansas and the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area). They’ve all enriched my life immensely.
And, over the last few years I’ve picked up a whole new set of gifts for my memory basket. And, that comes from my time coaching the Plains High School Track and Cross Country Teams. What a pleasure that has been. I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with a college program when I was living in Billings and was able to work with Dave Coppock’s XC program at MSU-Billings. And, I made some great relationships during from time – Sam Hartpence, Ronn Smith, Chelsea (Lyness) Dana and Tiffany (Piplica) Hartpence.
But, they were more like training partners. It wasn’t my team and they weren’t “my kids”. Over the last several years I’ve had the honor of working with a great group of kids at PHS. Carter, Demon, Fishy, Bubba, Kimmy, Swazz, Biebs, Paco, Frodo, Carley Q, Timmy & Tommy, Francesca, Nikki, Big Money Ben, Kelsey, Princess, Hailey, Corle, Caleb, McLovin’, Double D, Danny and more. They keep me on my toes and sometimes test my patience. But, in the end, it’s all worth it – watching them grow as athletes, students and young adults.
When I got into coaching at the high school level, I went into it with the simplistic view of thinking I was just going to help keep programs moving forward and share some of my knowledge of and passion for the sport. Little did I know how vested I would become in this rowdy band of hormone crazed teenagers. Yes, it really is like having an entire second set of children; and, I truly have come to think of them as “my kids”.
So, imagine the thrill of seeing the girl’s team take home the Class B State Track & Field Championship. They dominated the competition and brought home the schools’ first ever T&F title. It was a great weekend and I was tickled pink for the girls, the coaches, parents and families. One of the best experiences that I have had in the sport.
Yes indeed, I am a lucky man.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard.