Sunday, August 27, 2006


I like a good story. Real ones from real people are the best and I heard a great one while we were on our trip. Right after I heard it, I knew I wanted to share it here. It comes from one of the shepherds from my old congregation. He used to be a high school coach and has coached just about any sport imagineable other than baseball. This story had to do with his swim team.

Seems he had one young man on the team who just wasn't possessed of much swimming ability. He was a "good" kid, just not much of a swimmer. But he never missed a practice, never missed a meet. Fast forward to the last swim meet of the school year. The team is doing well and already has earned some medals. Coach is approached by one of his anchor swimmers, who says, "Coach, we want to do something, and we want your permission." He and a couple of the other boys wanted to put "John" on their relay team. He said, "Coach, we think we can get him a medal." There really was no reason to say no to the request, so he gave them his blessing. The relay begins, and when it is John's turn in the water (he was the 3rd swimmer), the team is ahead by several lengths. When John's turn is over, they are behind by almost as much. Coach's anchorman takes over and pushed himself to the max. Remember, they said a medal, so all he needed to do was get them into 3rd place. When he touches the wall, they are in 1st place by less than a foot. John got his one and only medal.

When the coach relayed this story to me, his eyes were brimming by the end. Mine were pooling over. I think it says something about the things he was teaching his boys besides how to swim. He spent a lot of time trying to shape those boys' characters. Is it any wonder so many of his students still keep in touch with him? He is 70 years old and even though he lives states away from his old schools, he is still a part of many of their lives, getting Christmas cards, wedding invitations, birth announcements... Now he is helping shape the lives of his grandchildren and the people of his congregation. They are fortunate to have him.


jettybetty said...

Now I need a tissue!
Great story!

Mellie Helen said...

We who teach have the opportunity to teach kids soooo much more than the 3 Rs. Kudos to that coach for knowing that little secret.

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