I recently accepted the head Cross Country coaching job at my high school, a mountain that I am eager to climb yet certainly requires substantial preparation. I’ve been an assistant on the team for four years now, but assuming the helm is going to be a different beast, and one I want to be sure to tackle as well as I possibly can. As a Chiefs fan, I remember with chagrin the short stint Todd Haley spent as our captain. The only one in which he accomplished anything at all that could be viewed from where I sat was the one in which he had managed to hire Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis as his coordinators. So even before I was formally offered the position, I went out and recruited the best coaches I could think of as assistants — and I got them.
Last night, my new staff and I sat down to dinner with my family followed by a meeting, built around my admittedly rather anal 17-point agenda seen above, to hammer out some details. I’d rather be over–planned than under, but I do understand how a two-page front-to-back agenda might be better suited to taking over the world than taking over a cross country team. In the end, we got through most of it.
Working with my new staff gives me far greater confidence that I can do this job, because I know I have tremendous support in my assistants, and that this will make all the difference. We talked about summer conditioning and meets, about the team and about setting goals, attendance policies, academics, where to store the tents, and so much more. But most of all, the purpose of the meeting was for me to get them together so they could all get to know one another and that we as a unit could begin to click. I think it happened, and I my choice of assistant coaches was only reinforced as the night went on. They are terrific people, and I chose them first for their rapport with and respect for kids, and second for their talent as runners and coaches. It’s going to be a great season.
Hosting runners, I tried to make a healthy-ish dinner, so I prepared a salad and grilled burgers and corn on the cob. Incidentally, these are also some of Titus and Zooey’s favorite foods right now, so it worked out well for everyone. And, naturally, I served wine with dinner. I opened both a red and a white, but given the heat, most people went straight for the white wine.
The Shooting Star Sauvignon Blanc 2017 from Lake County is really a terrific little wine, and just in time for summer. From winemaker Jed Steele, the sage of Lake County, this wine, sourced from the Dorn Vineyards in Kelseyville, is light and aromatic. A pale straw yellow tinged in green, it teems with tropical fruits — mango, guava, passion fruit, pineapple, followed up with just a hint of New Zealand-style grassy flavor. Clean and refreshing, it’s 13.5% ABV and limited to 1200 cases. And it pairs well with salad, and/or planning to take over the world.
Last year, I nearly stopped blogging during the cross country season for want of time. I don’t know if this year can be different, or if come August you’ll hear far less of me. What I do know is that I’m truly honored and excited to be taking on this new responsibility, and that I appreciate all of the support that I have received so far. It’s going to be a great new challenge, no doubt, and hopefully a terrific experience. As always, thanks for reading!
Cheers to new challenges, and to taking over the world,