Sue

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Soccer is my favorite time of the day. I can smell it when I was putting on those grass-stained cleats. I see it once we turn into Highpoint Park for our practice at the soccer field. But most importantly I hear it and I can’t help but smile. Every voice I hear makes me happy and excited to play again tomorrow. I hear the parents on the sidelines cheering with all their might and energy. I hear the girls I love, the support of the team and the voices saying, “I’m open, I’m here for you”. But I also hear the coach that I truly admire. Our head coach Jose, the kind and calm man who knows the skills and soccer knowledge but also breaths a passion for the sport that runs deep within him. “Jayne you are here!” , Jose warmly greets me. Although today Jose introduces our new volunteer assistant coach, Sue, we all call her Coach Sue. She is the mom of Kathy, the little, shy and gangly girl on our outgoing team. “Sometimes I wonder how Kathy likes our team, do you think she has fun with us?” Becky whispers into my ear. I could already take a hint that Coach Sue and Kathy were complete opposites. Coach Sue is not afraid to be loud. Sometimes she is feisty and speaks her mind. She says, “Speak up Kathy” whenever her daughter timidly talks to us, Coach Sue is her #1 supporter. I wonder if Coach Sue wants to be also to help Kathy speak up. I don’t know Coach Sue or Kathy that well, but I have a feeling I will get a taste this summer at practice and at our tournament.
I can already tell that Coach Sue is able to step out of the box and express honesty and truthfulness in her actions. She tells me what I’m doing wrong but also what I can do to fix my mistakes. Then Coach Sue gives me this enormous bear hug for encouragement, truly lifting my spirits. She takes the reins and runs, and she doesn’t question her gut. I admire that. She says she has fun plans for our team this summer. I think I like Coach Sue already.

Spring of Eighth Grade
Easter is tomorrow and my mom and I in the jellybean aisle in the grocery store. I’m deciding what brand to pick up when I see a familiar body from the corner of my eye. By the time I realize who it is; Coach Sue is standing happily in front of me. I turned around happy to see her outside of soccer and she instantly gives me one of her warm welcoming hugs. Her tall body frame and lengthy arms engulf my own as I smile at her genuine care. She explains that she is picking up marshmallow Peeps for Easter; they are Kathy’s siblings absolute favorite. I catch myself realizing how much she really cares about her kids. We stop in the middle of the bustling aisle to chat about our busy weeks. I ask Coach Sue about her town board meeting when out of the blue she says, “ I think I might run for mayor”. My jaw normally would drop, but with this lady I am not surprised at all. She can do anything; according to my book Coach Sue could be President if she put her mind to it. “And if that doesn’t work out I would like to join the School Board to help out Kathy’s school next year and all the others in the district. ” I just smile at her and say to myself, “I wish I could be that brave”. She is going to try something completely new and embrace it.
I am finding a pattern. Coach Sue is always thinking about others, she has an incredible passion to help people. Next year, Kathy is going to be in high school and her mom wants to help her have the greatest experience possible.
Fall of Junior Year

It smells like autumn’s crunching leaves and thick grass trails. I am cheering for my teammates in the Cross Country meet. Tons of runners and spectators are bundled in blankets and sweatshirts on this brisk morning. Everyone is getting ready for the gun to go off . Then their eyes are glued on the stampede of spikes digging into the mud and earth. I am walking near the ropes when I hear a familiar voice of encouragement. I turn to try and pick it out of the crowd. I spot a lady with a bandana wrapped around her head, with a mighty voice of a general. “Coach Sue” I yell, I begin to run towards her. She notices and opens up her arms to give me one of her unforgettable sweet hugs. When she hugs me she really hugs me. She looks a lot thinner than last spring when I talked to her about her cancer. I ask how she is feeling and she just smiles and optimistically replies, “Well I’m going through chemo to get better soon”. She tells it like it is, laying it out there so no one can pity her. She laughed and said, “I’ve missed a few school board meetings this fall but I’m back and ready to be fiesty!”
Coach Sue’s wrinkled face looks exhausted but she was still here, never missing a beat to cheer on the girl she loves, Kathy. Her team was racing phenomenal, and Kathy was now one of the team’s leaders. Her mom is here to cheer Kathy’s team on with all the strength and courage she could muster. Amazingly, Kathy runs like she isn’t afraid to hurt. Just like her mom never seems scared for a moment, she is a big strong grizzly bear not about to give up without a fight.
Winter of Senior Year
S.K.R. was what I see as I walk into the room filled with muffled murmurs. I see it on the cards and I see it near the pictures. I notice it under the joyous runner on the back black running jackets. They all have come pay respect and support a good friend in need. Her name is Kathy; although, she was no longer timid, gangly, and silent. I enter the doorway and she notices right away and practically runs to me. She suddenly hugs me strongly, just like her mom always would. I realize this is the first time I have ever had the chance to hug Kathy. She is different, very different. I tell her how sorry I am, and how much I am going to miss her mom. Kathy looks into my eyes with a sincere and calming spirit. She has taken a new persona. She is confident and it makes me smile. In our short conversation Kathy said now she is one of the Track captains for her team after she was the cross country captain in the fall. At this moment I realize I finally saw Coach Sue within Kathy. I saw it in their same genuine laugh. I think she has passed on part her upbeat and enthusiastic spirit to her daughter. They are the happy story of a mother and her daughter. Kathy seems so excited about life, her college next year and her fun team and family. Her mom must be smiling down from heaven, because she achieved her ultimate goal all along, to help Kathy grow and she did just that.





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