About a coach…

 

Martin Koonce track Harding
Martin racing for Ted Lloyd at Harding University in the 80’s

 

A word about a coach …  not just any coach, but a Hall of Fame coach and US Track and Field Board Member and my coach for five years.

I had the notorious distinction of being the one athlete in his more than 40 year coaching career to make him the angriest, on three or maybe four occasions no less.  He has the distinction of making the greatest impact on me.

There is always a turning point, hopefully, sooner than later.  Mine occurred during February of my junior year.  I struggled, as many athletes do in their transition from high school to university, to win.  I dreamed of winning and even trained hard enough to win, but I was a head case and mentally would implode at the prospect of winning often drifting not so slowly from 1st to somewhere in the top ten at the least sign of a challenge.  I hated it and loathed myself for it.

One training day during an 8 mile run we were asked to run the middle five at a pace that was just a bit uncomfortable, almost racing.  I ran mine on our cross country course.  Somewhere, hidden in the adjacent stands of the baseball complex was my wonderful coach, the famous Ted Lloyd.  He had a sneaking suspicion I was faster than I thought.  So, on this five miles of training I floated along unassuming and crossed the “line” only to look up and see his hulking 6’3″ 220+ frame storming across the field right at me.  Nowhere to hide, nowhere (else) to run to we met in the middle, the five inches he had on me seemed to grow to ten.  Looking down at me he asked what I thought my time was.  I responded that I had no idea and he informed me that I set a new personal record by three full minutes and almost beat the course record on a training run.  He then proceeded to stab me in the chest (proverbially) with his foot long index finger and informed me that I will finally begin winning when I get tired of losing.  Then he stormed off never to mention the incident again.  I promptly began winning.

What changed?  He changed me.  He changed my faith.  I began to believe that it was possible to do well and be victorious not in just running but more importantly in life.

That’s what coaches do.  They stretch, prod, push, pull, mold, and mentor the athlete or player convincing them they can do and be more.  We need coaches, desperately, who can do this, all the while for a higher purpose and calling.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1Co 9:24-26

I praise God for Coach Ted Lloyd. He helped me to get that crown that lasts forever, he developed me through sport.

Author: sportingfaith

Using sport to bring transformation to those men and women, young and old, who like myself, are seeking the fullness of life that can only be found through faith in Jesus.

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