Last night, I took swimmers to an invitational meet at the University of Minnesota. It was a bit of nostalgia for me as that was my sport in high school and college, and employment for 10 years. Stillwater is fortunate to have coaches who are legends in our state. One of them is Brian Luke who has been leading our Boys and Girls teams for over 40 years. His record for most wins is still growing. An indicator of successful coaches is leading a team that so many students want to join; two buses are needed to get the team from the pool at Stillwater Middle to an away meet.
Here is my unique perspective. Every one of these student athletes were most pleasant and respectful. Watching them conduct themselves at the Jean Freeman aquatic center would make any Stillwater resident proud. At the end of the trip, there is nothing to clean or sweep in the bus. The only thing left behind is that chlorine fragrance bringing me back to my younger years.
While some may question our investment or emphasis in these co-curricular activities, I see them as an integral and important part of the teen experience. As I observe our coaches address our athletes, I often hear much more than the sport itself get discussed. I also hear of their expectation to represent themselves and our school in the best way possible.
Often, the most successful coaches are those who produce not only successful athletes, but respectful and thoughtful team members as well.
Let's keep this going.
Thank you to Jenny Weise for the photos.