Sunday, August 03, 2008

Arrived in China (By SHC coach Andy Chan)

Hi Everyone,

I can't believe we're here in China. This trip has always seemed so far away. It's been months and months of talking about this trip. When it started years ago, it was just an idea. Then in January, when we booked the trip, it was a great honeymoon with the possibility that Shannon would make the Olympic team (she was “an underdog trying to sneak in" at that point). In May when she ran 4:01, things changed and there was now a good chance she would make it. But even when she qualified at the Trials on July 6, it didn't really sink in. This last week, when I started saying “we leave on Saturday," it finally sunk in.

Lots of great coaches who run terrific programs and have coached a long time, never get a 2-time State champion athlete like Shannon on their team. It seems almost unfair that I got to coach Shannon my first 4 years as a head coach.

Lots of high school champions do not go on to collegiate success and even less continue on as professional runners.

There are many professional athletes who are not Olympians or US Olympic Trials champions. And many Olympians who are not medal contenders.

That's what's incredible. I feel blessed and fortunate that these things have all happened and that I am still involved in helping Shannon.

Other coaches (especially high school coaches) really understand how cool and amazing this is. I feel genuine happiness for how proud I am feeling. It's been so much fun to share how I am feeling with people like Margi Beima, Coach Fran, Ed Nevus, and Tony Kauke. And I've never had so many people wish me safe travels!

As a coach, my goal is to have a successful program. You do the best job you can with every kid and every team. The passion and hard work you put into it often gets unnoticed – but that's okay because the reward is the relationship you build with the kids. Whether or not Shannon ever came along, I think I'm a pretty good coach with a pretty good program at SHCP. I do the same things today that I did when I coached Shannon (OK, maybe I can't keep up with my varsity runners like I did ten years ago – that age thing!). Thanks to Shannon's accomplishments I've been recognized and thanked a lot lately. I admit it's been real nice but again I think a lot of this has been just good luck on my part.

Those are the thoughts I've been having (following 12 hours on a plane!). I'll end by sharing with you what I told Shannon on Friday, thanks for bringing me along on this great journey!


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