This past Friday, each runner received a small smoothie from the Smoothie Factory here in Elmhurst. Kids were excited; I was excited. Since my job was to supervise groups 1 and 2 on the path for their 75 minute run, I was not present for smoothie distribution. While sipping this luscious treat, curiosity caused me to wonder if anyone said, “Thank you.” Sometimes we, myself included, need to be reminded of the importance of expressing gratitude. At the end of every course I teach, I will tell the students that the two greatest words that one can utter in succession are – Thank You. Doing so is an expression of gratitude and humility. Acknowledging someone’s effort lets the giver know you appreciate the help.
Recently, my college track coach at Kentucky announced his retirement. I felt the best way to honor his effort was to say, “Thank you.” Here is what I wrote, thank you for reading:
Good evening Coach Weber,
A former athlete sent me a text this morning with the news of your retirement. When I searched the UK website, the text was confirmed. Sadly, like most athletes, my connection to you was weakened upon graduation. Life’s trajectory put me on a path that did not cross yours, but I have been forever influenced by my 4 years in Lexington under your tutelage. I was incredibly grateful to be offered a scholarship to attend UK. My parents did not have the financial means to send me to college. As an 18 year old I am sure that I never expressed how thankful I was for that grant-in-aid package. As a teacher, I tell my students that the two greatest words one can utter in succession are thank you. The reason for this is due to my many missed opportunities to express gratitude.
Thank you. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to be a Wildcat.
Thank you for first preparing me and then giving me the many opportunities to race against the best. You emphasized the value of competition. This simple instruction has enabled me to continue running and racing, even this weekend where I raced at the Portland Track Festival.
Thank you for investing time in all the athletes you have coached the past 34 years at UK.
Thank you for reminding me that life is not always fair, but we still must carry on. An interaction that occurred as the two of us were driving from Louisville to Lexington after returning from Jr. Nationals, helped me through a very disappointing moment. Jim Kaiser and Denise Bushallow had qualified to represent the US in an international competition in Canada, while I finished 3rd and went home. As we sat in the car, you said, “Damn, some things just aren’t fair.” You then proceeded to help me raise my spirits and carry on. Thank you.
Words can never convey how thankful I am that you directed a program that was co-ed and that recruited a modestly talented girl from Illinois. Your decision to invite Lynne for a visit changed the course of her life and provided me with the opportunity to meet the most amazing woman I know. I am so grateful for the life I live. Although our paths do not cross, not a day goes by without me seeing the outcome of your decision to recruit Lynne and I to UK.
Congratulations on an amazing career. I wish you well in this next phase of life. Enjoy your time with Camille, Jennifer, Katie and Robbie.
UK Class of 1991
The first ten people, even if you have won a contest already, who submit a paragraph (to firstname.lastname@example.org) telling why you are thankful for camp will win a t-shirt and may even be published in the next blog.