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Coach Wood Canned Food Drive

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Coach-Wood-logo-2017

Please read the letter below from Coach Wood himself!

Hello Coaches!
This is Coach Wood — the old guy who starts some races each year. Andy Christie and I have been talking, and we have a common interest that we would like to be more direct in emphasizing this year. We want to bring it to your attention and ask for your collective effort in sharing this concern to your teams.

As most of you are aware, in the past we have asked for canned food contributions from your teams — an idea suggested by Andy’s wife, Katie. We also named the food drive to honor two members of the cross country community who died tragically a few years ago — Tajay Hoppines and Hope McKenzie. We have awarded the team with the greatest number of cans their own port-a-potty the following year. Cans for a Can, we called it. We will still do that again this year, but we really would like to encourage you coaches to find a way to present this to your teams so that this becomes a service project you feel that you can throw your weight behind. This effort only becomes really significant if you make it so.

Shelters and food banks in the area are already seeing an increase in folks who are showing up at their doors, especially with displacement from homes in Florida, South Georgia, and Houston. Even without this increase, food banks like the Southeast Gwinnett Co-op always run short of food as we enter the cooler months and approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season. With about 3000 runners this year and around 4000 spectators, if everyone brought just one can, think of the impact we could make.

I have always believed that cross country coaches and the students that run on our teams are some of the best people to be found in our high schools. The athletes include many of the top students and leaders at their respective schools. The coaches are adults who have grown up learning values like self-discipline and teamwork, realizing that we are all given different abilities, and that success as a runner is not just measured by fastest times. John Wooden famously said, “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.” He considered coaches to be teachers first. I hope this year you will find a way to emphasize the values you promote with your team by throwing your full weight behind the canned-food drive. Get your parents involved, and your booster clubs, if they exist. Let them know that being a good person is even more important to you than being a great runner. We all know that many of our favorite athletes have not been our fastest kids. Help them improve their values as well as their times this year.

A club I sponsor at Grayson will be purchasing plaques for the “Most Generous Team” in each of the school size classifications participating in the Coach Wood Invitational. Hopefully, this will become another goal by which you can measure the success of your team for the 2017 cross country season. It definitely will be the most important one for the people your efforts feed this year.
Thanks, Coach Wood

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