Happy Friday! Hope you are off to a great start today!
Today I will be paying respects to a wonderful teacher and coach of mine.
My high school Woods teacher and Cross-Country coach passed away at 82.
Mr. Jones was one of those coaches you wish everyone had.
He was firm and he knew just what to say at just the right time.
I am not sure what motivated me to take drafting, Woods 1 and Woods 2 in high school, I guess the eternal builder/creator in me.
I remember making a simple toolbox in Woods 1, I painted it purple, Mr. Jones looked the other way. Then I used the router not to make holes to hold my “screwdriver” but to hold my nail file.
He shook his head but I saw a slight smile.
I had planned on putting my nail polish and nail files in my “toolbox”.
I went on to make some beautiful nightstands that have drawers and a shelf made out of oak, those things are beast and my parents still use them today.
As a coach Mr. Jones was always there, he drove our school bus to each meet and he gave just the right pep talk.
He was actually the boy’s coach, but in a small town coaches crossover especially in cross country.
I still can see him standing on the side every meet, giving the encouragement just at the right moment. Never the cheerleader, that was not him.
He did get “passionate” on several occasions but it was only to get the best out of you.
He told me down to the yards who was behind me and if I needed to crank it up a notch.
But my favorite memory was running Regionals at Culver Military Academy, it was a huge meet.
It had rained the night before.
I lost one of my shoes in the mud and he saw me freaking out.
Did you know you only have to finish a race with 1 shoe?
Me neither, until Mr. Jones yelled, “Ralstin” (my maiden name) get going you only need one shoe! GO!
Our team advanced to Semi-State!
I could go on about the life lessons, the pasta dinners he hosted, and just the great guy he was.
Everyone needs mentors and coaches who believe in you, even before you ever do.
Mr. Jones modeled the type of coach I have always wanted to be.
You are there when people need you and you have intentional words that speak life into people.
I was never just about that race or that beautiful set of nightstands.
It was doing your best, showing up with intention, and finish what you started (even if you only have one shoe.)
Rest in Peace Mr. Jones.