"Patch" found Out He Could Run. His Gift Changed His Life For The Better, Forever.
Photo Credit: Japheth Mast
Patch was a make-believe character in a children’s book who found out he could run really fast when he was a young boy.
Patch's life dramatically changed for the better after he found his gift of running. The story about Patch was a book in elementary school libraries decades ago. The fictional tale of Patch turned out to be an authentic prophetic look into the future for one young boy.
Like Patch in the children’s story, there was a ten-year-old boy who was quiet, reserved, and off the radar to his classmates. In other words, this young boy had few friends and lacked some confidence.
The boy's demeanor was anything but outgoing, and he kept to himself. He was just average or a little below in school work and rarely participated in activities because of his shyness. He was not musically or artistically inclined. He had few places to fit in.
One day this boy was asked to run in a foot race against the entire school. A teacher encouraged this young boy to give running a try. To the boy’s delight, he won his first-ever race by a large margin. His classmates were amazed that this quiet boy who sat in the back of the class could run that fast. The entire class picked the boy up and carried him around the playground that day as a respectful and encouraging gesture.
A teacher at the boy’s elementary school noticed his talent and connected him with an area summer track coach after contacting the boy’s parents. His parents had the foresight and vision to sign the boy up for a summer track program that was a life-changing experience.
The boy’s grades started to pick up due to his newfound confidence, and he also began to come out of his shell. The elementary teacher, his parents, and the summer track coach recognized and encouraged this young boy's God-given talent, and the rest, as they say, was history.
The boy became a state track and field champion. He finished second in the United States National Junior Olympic Championships in Ithaca, New York, beaten only by a new national record.
The boy also went to college, mostly paid for by athletic and academic scholarships. He became the first child in his immediate family to go to college. In addition, he graduated from college with honors and won an outstanding student-athlete award his senior year in college. And he became a nationally ranked runner winning various collegiate conference titles and other championships as a post-collegiate runner.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of good teachers, coaches, and other educators who help change lives for the better. A few moments in life like the boy in this story can genuinely change your life for the better, forever.
I am incredibly grateful for those coaches and educators who saw those moments in my life and took the time to make the best of them. When someone truly believes in you, the sky is the limit.
You see, the boy in the story is me. The caring attitude of some of my past teachers and coaches is why I'm still involved in Christ-centered education and coaching today. Helping all students reach their God-given potential is what I am called to do every day.
Thank you, Mr. Springer, for seeing my talent and getting me connected to summer track.
Thank you, mom and dad, for signing me up for summer track on that warm and windy day.
Thank you, Coach McDonald, for taking me all over the state in your van to run races a year in and year out.
Thank you, coach Anderson, for running a great high school program.
Thank you, Coach Dobosz, for all of your help through the wind and rain each training day. And thank you, mom, dad, Mr. Springer, and Coach McDonald, for pushing me as a young boy to reach for my dreams.
Sports are important, more than many people realize even in today’s world. Like education, sports can change lives for the better, forever. For many of us, sports were game-changers, transforming life forever in magnificent ways.
As the dawn of a new cross-country season approaches, I can’t help but think there is another “Patch” out there waiting in the wings to unleash their gift.
I want to be the coach who finds and helps the next Patch reach for their dreams.
I was ten in the picture above. It was my first time in the paper as a young boy. Like Patch in the story, my life changed forever for the better that year.
I read the story about Patch several times in Elementary school. The book was a motivator for me and an excellent reason to read. I don't remember the exact title of the book. I am trying to locate the book in old archives for a project I am working on.
The track in the picture is the old North Thurston High School track. And, yes, I ran barefoot for several years when I was a boy. I refused to run in shoes. I won the state Junior Olympics in my elementary age group running barefoot.
I finished second in the nation in the 880 (800 meters now) in high school thanks to my coaches.