Perhaps, you have noticed a string of thin clads making their way on the roads of Cedar City. They come from the north (CVHS), the south (CHS), and the middle road (SUU). They come in all shapes and sizes, in all sorts of apparel, but they all have one thing in common- the desire to persevere.
So much about what I learned in life, I learned while I wore my running shoes. Today, it still remains my time to pray- my time to play. High school track and cross country brought me some of my closest friendships. Much of that was due to one man---Dr. Coach (Dr. Robert Corry). He was everyone's biggest fan. It didn't matter if you were the first or last- he was there for you. His shout of "Go For It!" Still echoes in my heart and mind.
The powerhouse at Cedar High was not created overnight. The girls’ team made an appearance at the state meet in ’85; however, Dr. Coach took the reins as head coach in the fall of 86. He grew the team. The story goes something like this- during his first years of coaching he would often have to recruit from the halls the necessary runners needed to compete at state. One year prior to the state meet (I believe it was the fall of ’88 he only had 6 girls) he needed seven girls to compete. He only had six. So Dr. Coach roamed the halls and found one fearless soul. She donned her running shoes and joined the team at the state competition at Sugarhouse Park in SLC. This was not the last time the Lady Reds made their appearance at the state meet.
In the fall of 1993, the Lady Reds brought home their first Championship trophy. I remember it distinctly because that amazing man, Dr. Coach, sent all of his previous runners (me included) a little note in the mail with a photo of the 1993 championship team. The note read something like this, “Thank you for being a part of this.” You see Dr. Coach realized the power of teamwork and he shared it with all of us. Today he has garnered nine Cross Country championships, but the number of lives he has influenced are endless.
He taught us each to “pay it forward.” I am not sure of the stats on how many of his runners have helped coach cross country teams over the years, but I am sure of this- Lori (Banks) Slack, is a part of a successful program in Hurricane, Mariam (Chatfield) Steffensen is in her 7th year as head coach of the CVHS Girls’ team and LaRae (Larsen) Heaton has devoted years to the Cedar High Cross Country Team. And well me, a few years back I threw my hat in the coaching ring and joined the community centered/middle school age, Iron Athletics Cross Country team. On any given morning, you will find 40 of our runners on CC’s main street getting in a few miles.
It was also in my running shoes that I fell in love with my Rigby. There is so much to be learned about the qualities of resolve, hard work, and dedication as one competes. Rigby was good, even great. I loved cheering for him. While I wasn't the fastest, I was fast enough to catch him. Our deep friendship took root in running shoes... it has seen us through some both difficult and amazing times. Thanks Dr. Coach for your influence upon Rigby and me and so many more.
I watched Dr. Coach from a distance not long ago and snapped pics of this amazing coach and friend. Thirty-three years later, he continues to cheer on his runners. I still find it inspiring. He definitely has left his thumbprint on generation to come.