To Sir, With Love

November 17, 2012

Now that Cross Country is over, I find myself reflecting on my last four years a lot. I mean, I still get to train with Coach Portis and the boys every day (we’re going to a voluntary Cross Country meet (the Midwest Footlocker Invite) in Wisconsin right after Thanksgiving) but it’s really not the same as training with the whole Team. I miss the collectiveness of everyone coming together to be part of something so much bigger than all of us. But I won’t ever have that again. Not with Cross Country, at any rate. There’s still our Performing Arts Company show this Winter. And Glitter (the school talent show) in the Spring. And Track in the Spring. And the One Act Play Festival in the Spring…I have a busy Spring. Maybe I don’t have anything to complain about with “missing collectiveness”…but I’ll always miss the group that ushered me into High School Life.

Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah, reflection upon the past four years! Right…so, one of my fondest memories was at Cross Country Camp my Sophomore Year. At the start of the week, Coach Portis gave us the name of a fellow runner. By the end of the week, we had to know two good things about them that we could share with the Team at a bonfire. Sophomore Year, I had Nate…more commonly referred to by his last name in an obnoxious tone. Anyway, I wrote a little comical poem for Nate and recited it to the group. I think they enjoyed it. Nate certainly seemed to appreciate it.

As the bonfire came to a close…I grew more and more nervous.

See, one thing that I noticed my Freshman Year was that every kid had two good things said about them…but the Coaches didn’t get their moment in the spotlight. Of course, at the end of the season, they always get a extremely heartfelt speech from the captains. But I decided, for some reason, that I really wanted to do something for the Coaches that year at camp. So, I memorized the lyrics to “To Sir, With Love” and recited it as a poem. (I can’t sing…at all. I wanted to honor them, not hurt their ears.)

I stood up at the end of the bonfire, nervous and slightly shaking. I looked around at the group illuminated by the reddish glow of the fire…and just started into it…

Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone.

But in my mind…

I know they will still live on and on

But how do you thank someone who has taken you from cross trainers to spikes?

It isn’t easy…but we’ll try.

If you wanted the sky…we’d write across the sky in letters

That would soar a thousand feet high

To Sir, With Love

The time has come

For closing books and long, last looks must end.

And as we leave,

We know that we’re leaving our best friend

A friend who taught us right from wrong…

And weak from strong…

That’s a lot to learn,

What, what can we give you in return?

If you wanted the moon…We would try to make a start

But we’d rather you let us give our hearts

To Sir, With Love

And then I sat down. Coach Portis nodded and said:

“That was really nice, thanks guy.”

I dunno. Just thinking about the past makes this memory come up a lot. Hearing the song again and typing the lyrics makes me realize just how perfectly it applies to Coach Portis and Coach Flynn. The idea of “leaving” applied back when we were about to leave camp…and it applies even more now. When we were at the State Meet and the race was just about to start, Coach Portis looked all of us Seniors dead in the eye and said: “This is the last race that I’ll be your head Coach.” And I felt my face warp and tears well up. I think that has a lot to do with why I got my personal record that day. And then there’s Coach Flynn. At least I still get to somewhat experience Coach Portis again as Track Coach in the Spring (he’s technically not the distance Coach, he’s the hurdling Coach.) But Coach Flynn recently announced that she would be stepping down from her position on the Track Team…

That means my time with Coach Flynn is over.

And I take the knowledge that I’ve had my last race with Coach Flynn. And I take the knowledge that Cross Country is over. And I take the knowledge that Coach Portis is no longer my Head Coach. And I remember the moment that I recited the song…

And I just wish that Coach Portis and Coach Flynn could be reminded every single day about everything they’ve done for all of us.

I wish they could be reminded that we would write across the sky for them.

That we would catch the moon for them.

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

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One Response to “To Sir, With Love”

  1. Janel Mcleary Says:

    i really miss high school life because for me, it is the most exciting part of my life…

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