Love For a Bird

November 5, 2012

See, there’s this teacher…this English teacher who has his heart in the right place.

His name, to most, is Mr. Hawkins. To us lucky Track runners…he’s Coach Hawkins. And everyone loves to make bird jokes about his last name. And they totally haven’t gotten old in the four years that I’ve been hearing them.

He used to be an Assistant Cross Country Coach for the High School Team back when I was a Freshman. The day came, though, that he had to make a tough call and transition into his current position as Head Middle School Cross Country Coach. To this day, the boys and girls of GLXC still see him as a Coach and a role model…he’s just not always around physically. But we feel him spiritually. We feel him when we see a crow pecking at some roadkill on our easy days. We feel him when we see a hawk soaring above us on our hard days. We feel him when the occasional Idiotic bird hits a school window, unable to perceive the pane of glass that’s right in front of it’s face. We feel the spirit of Coach Hawkins with us all the time.

This year, Coach Hawkins took on more responsibilities than I thought one man could handle. He has a baby girl about to become a toddler. He’s the interim Assistant Principal. He’s teaching his first AP course, AP Literature (and I am one of his students.) He continued to coach the Middle School Cross Country Team. And he still did his best to make time for us…his ol’ High School Cross Country pals.

Coach Hawkins is sorta like that really cheesy “cool” or “on the kids level” English teacher that you see in really bad movies about High School…except most would actually say that Coach Hawkins really is “cool” or “on our level.”

It’s great to have a teacher like Coach Hawkins. It’s great to know someone like Coach Hawkins. Last Saturday was the Michigan High School Cross Country State Finals…and, unfortunately, Coach Hawkins couldn’t make it. That didn’t stop him from coming to us on Friday with a very “Coach-Hawkins-English-Teacher-Esque” speech that left me tingling. Coach Hawkins is the kind of speaker that always sends shivers down my spine. He’s inspirational to an infinite degree. In fact, the boys and girls both came 7th in the State on Saturday (higher than we were ranked.) And I ran a 16:45 (my personal record.) And I, without a doubt, know that Coach Hawkins is responsible for those feats. Not entirely, of course. No one person is completely responsible for our achievement…but I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now without Coach Hawkins. Heck, he is my English teacher. Maybe I wouldn’t be writing this blog without his influence.

In the end…we’re all created through a combination of our experiences. Of course I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influence of Coach Hawkins. It’s Love For a Bird that showed me the power of balance. I identify heavily in Coach Hawkins because he knows the plight of a thespian athlete. When he was in High School and College, he was an actor and a runner. Just like me. We both participate in a balancing act. And I’d say he turned out pretty okay.

Seeing Coach Hawkins work and achieve like he does helps me know that I’m on the right track. I don’t know what the future holds…that’s utterly impossible. So, all I can do is look to great men like Coach Hawkins and trust that…it will work out eventually.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, a Superman in training)

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