9.25 miles in 1:07:17.
It's really hot today, probably close to 100 and this was the first time in a long time that I've run in the heat of the day. One nice thing about Utah is that we generally have cool mornings and low humidity in the Summer even on days when it gets into the triple digits
While I was running this afternoon I did a lot of thinking about my fifteen years of high school coaching. I've been fortunate enough to coach some outstanding teams and individuals. My teams have won three state championships, been runner-up a couple times, and won several region championships.
Despite all that, by far the most rewarding part is following their lives after high school. I have a former runner from my days coaching in South Carolina in the 1990s who is a great example. Joah Spearman came from a very difficult background. Poor, but with a hard working single mom who was raising Joah and his two brothers, Joah defied all the odds and shattered all the stereotypes of how a young black man in his position should end up. Joah ended up graduating from the University of Texas in 2005 becomming the first person in his family to graduate from college. His first job after graduation was as the chief speechwriter for the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) almost immediately after Hurricane Katrina. He then landed a good job with a successful Washington consulting firm while still in his early 20s. You would think a guy would be content with this level of success at such a young age, but Joah wanted to do some things that having a time consuming job like this wouldn't allow. So he left Washington and moved back to Austin, Texas and started a business called Sneak Attack. I would describe it as a hip, trendy sneaker, clothing, and accessory store. You can check it out at www.sneakattackaustin.com
I should confess that I own something like 2.5% of Sneak Attack so if you decide to by something off the e-commerce site you will be helping to put my kids through college.
Joah also recently published his first book through the University of Texas Press. It's called Real Role Models: Successful African Americans Beyond Pop Culture. The book is a series of profiles of African Americans who have suceeded greatly in areas besides sports and the entertainment industry. As a young black man, Joah was frustrated with the fact that the people held out my our society as role models for black children seemed to come only from these two fields. It's aimed primarily at middle to high school students. You can find it on Amazon.com if you are interested. He's currently at work on his second book which will be a history and profile of the music scene in Austin Texas.
I first met Joah when he was in 7th grade. In South Carolina, middle schoolers are allowed to participate in high school sports. I have always made it a point to run with the kids I coach as much as possible and I recall listining to the 12 year-old Joah talk out on runs and thinking that here was a kid I'd be hearing about in the future.
And I have a lot more great stories of great kids who have become great men and women. As I get older, I find that I spend more time appreciating "kids" like Joah, and less time thinking about the championships.