Gone before sleeping beauty opened her eyes, I waited in the gym with Coach Riley and watched a group of young women straggle in at 7 am. “Step lively,” Coach called and blew the whistle hanging around her neck for the first time, a sound we learned to respond to like Pavlov’s dog. The sound reverberated around the cavernous gym. How a small silver whistle commanded attention remained a mystery to me. A woman of average stature, maybe ten years older, and Coach Lynne Riley held us in the palm d hearbof her hand. My role model. From then on, whenever I’d hear a whistle blow, my feet itched to run. We, referring to the team, had a nice ring to it. Me the loner no more. And we all resembled each other, in lean shape, pony tail hair-do, intense and later, when we suited up in the purple uniforms, we were something to watch. As a freshman, I didn’t expect to win in competition. Everyone else had experience in major events, travel to other colleges, coverage by television. Scary stiff. I just ran fast. At first, my confidence level dropped and Coach took me aside. “Charlie, I saw you run and new you were right for our team. What’s the problem? A guy thing or do you have your period? I toed the ground, raised dust and looked ashamed. “Talk to me.” “I don’t have experience like the other girls. All those people yelling, the crowds.” “She handed over a bottle of water and said:Sit down. I think I know what the problem is. We drank. “You have stage fright .” Nodding to herself, she continued. An actor learns her lines yet when the curtain , she forgets or is too nervous to get them straight. So here’s what we’re going to do.” My story head drooped.’ “Look at me when I’m talking to you. I want to see the fire you ran with we met. We’re going to have a cross county meet at Purdue soon and I expect great results from you. More later, my friends.
The coach of my university track team didn’t have a whistle. He was very soft-spoken, yet we all listened to every word.
That’s a lot of pressure on her. I hope her teammates help make her feel comfortable.
I hope she feels better soon. It sounds like way too much pressure.
The stage fright thing makes sense. I like this coach. It’s funny, my snippet this week features a whistle, too! Great minds, my friend. 🙂
I’m not surprised athletes get stage fright. Anytime one has to perform, whether on an actual stage or on a racetrack, it has to be daunting. Hope she can get past it.
Sounds like she’s got someone on her side!
I hope she”l oblige with a great run at the meet.
Googd pep talk from the coach, nice she has a mentor. Terrific snippet! Hugs to you, my friend…
Great to see that she has someone to talk her through it and not force her to perform, or else.
The coach is very in tune with Charlie. diagnosing her problem. 🙂
Hugs, my friend. ❤
Sounds like she’s under a lot of pressure.
That seems like a lot of pressure. I’m glad she has someone to talk to about it.
I didn’t think athletes suffered from stage fright (I was more the drama kid than the athlete), but it makes sense. Thanks for introducing me to something new!
I’m glad she has an understanding coach. I hope Charlie can meet her expectations.