Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Lost All My Snarky Writing Energy

The horrible soul sucking cramp running through my foot and pulling my 2nd and 3rd toes into a pike position while ripping the muscle from my bones has consumed what little energy I had remaining. Because of the surgery and doctors orders to stay out of teh pool for 10-14 days, which I was clearly disregarding for the second time this week, I decided to kick it out. Just a girl, her Sweedish goggles, a Speedo Kickboard, and Zoomers.

Well... Joe Stocker would not likely be impressed. I barely swam 1000 and cramped up just a few laps in. Pretty sure this not the best way to honor his memory.

Joe is one of my "big three". If my life has a most influential category outside of my mother, Joe would not just be in the running, he would be contending for the title. Most people who swam for him would likely say the same thing. Joe was my club coach in Oklahoma City so many years ago it's stomach churning to say aloud.

Coach Sean, brace yourself for these credentials. You'll be impressed that a swimmer found such a well rounded coach back then. Joe was a Level 4 ASCA certified coach with nearly 35 years of experience coaching novice to Olympic Trial competition. He coached both high school and USA club swimming. He swam for the University of Nebraska and was a NCAA qualifier in 1962 in breaststroke. In 1973, Joe placed in the top 6 at the Masters World Championships. He was appointed to the Governor's Council on Physical Education for the State of Oklahoma in 1986 and charged with the responsibility to revise the physical education program for 9th graders. He has written and published articles in The Research Journal for Physical Education, Health and Recreation. His article titled "Performance Ladder", a program approach to teaching water skills to all levels was presented at the state convention for Physical Education. He won national triathlon titles (Trifed) in 1987, 88 and 89 and was 6th at Leon's in 1990 in the US National Amateur Trials to determine the US Team that was to compete in the World Championships. He has won 4 USTS titles and was a triathlete All-American.

Any of the other die hard tri guys impressed? I always was.

Coaching each individual swimmer to achieve their personal best was Joe's passion. But to the untrained eye, Joe was as unforgiving and tough as any coach could be. I remember well after I tore my ACL and MCL, Joe pushed me to kick full workouts. He knew if I didn't push it, I would be at the level we both knew I wanted to be. He would walk along less than a foot from the edge of the pool, urging me to push it harder with each kick. "You're not pushing it." "Give me more." "Work through it." "UP! UP! UP!" I would smile at him while forcing away the urge to vomit, but I always managed to give him more effort when he demanded it. He knew I had it in me and I trusted him. He gave me so much personal attention through my years with him. Even with what I thought was more attention than my mother was paying for (unless he worked cheap), he always found time to focus that much individual attention on each of his swimmers. It was almost like he created time.

So, am I disappointed in my work out? Yes. Was I happy to be in the pool regardless? Sure. Will I give it 100% when I swim tomorrow morning? You bet. All I've been able to think about since yesterday is Joe and that I didn't give that workout full effort. Full effort was the only way Joe did anything.

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