I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
She stood on the blocks in lane 3. “Coach Shelley,” she called, “Coach Shelley!”
Coach Shelley is probably in her late 40s or early 50s, a petite blonde ageless coach, who is equally comfortable with 6 year olds, 16 year olds, and 66 year olds. I love watching her interact with everyone, but mainly with the swimmers on her team.
Earlier in the meet, she had been screaming next to me, “She made it! She made it!” because one of her little swimmers had qualified for the Gold meet, the top meet in our area. When the little girl walked up to her a few minutes later, Shelley said excitedly,”You did it! You made a gold time!”
The little girl look at her blankly. “What?” she said.
“You made a Gold time! You swam really fast!”
“Oh,” was all her swimmer said.
Coach Shelley laughed. “I’m over here doing a dance, and all I get is ‘oh’ from you?” She rumpled the swimmer’s head, as best a coach can through a cap. “Great job!” she said.
Then there was the swimmer calling her name, “Coach Shelley!” This girl was either 13 or 14, tall, lean, athletic.
Shelley yelled back, “Whaddya want?” in a mock annoyed voice.
“I’m going to break a minute today,” her swimmer yelled. The whole pool heard her. I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in checking my program to see what the girl’s seed time was. 1:01.36 in the 100 Free.
Coach Shelley laughed. “You go, girl,” she called back.
I shook my head. What confidence. What chutzpah. I wondered if she could drop a second and a half.
I admired her daring and determination. What we all could accomplish if we were so bold.
Maybe all we need is a Coach Shelley in our lives.