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Coach Q: An Inspiration #FTSF

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There is power in kindness.

A simple act of kindness may change someone’s day, or even their life.

Throughout the years, many people have done nice things for me…little things and big things. But one of the nicest thing I think anyone can do for another person is to give them encouragement to have confidence in themselves.

This can be life changing. Your life might be going one direction, and as a result of an interaction or encouragement, it could entirely change course.

Once upon a time, I had a coach who did that for me. His name was Jerry Quiller. Q, as he was known to us, was an extraordinary man, an amazing coach, and a true inspiration. He changed lives, mine included. I believe my husband, who also ran for Q, would say the same.

I was a mouse in junior high and high school. I felt invisible a lot of the time. We moved a lot, and I never really felt like I belonged. I was a good student, and on the cross country and track teams. I did have friends, but I always felt like I was on the fringes.

College is nothing like high school. It’s a fresh start for everyone.

I knew I wanted to continue running. When you’re on a team, you meet people who are have an interest in something you do. It’s a group of like-minded people. For someone as introverted as I was, being on a team could only be a good thing. Plus, I was a decent runner in high school, among the top in my state. I had hoped I could continue to compete at the collegiate level.

However, rather than go to a smaller school where I could have had a scholarship (and probably had a much easier time of it), I opted to walk on to bigger school’s program. The talent and speed on that team was daunting. I was completely out of my league. I’d never run so much in my life. I was exhausted. I couldn’t even finish a workout my freshman year.

Many college coaches wouldn’t have wasted their time with a runner like me. And yet, Q was never impatient with me, never made me feel like I was a lesser member of the team (although I certainly was the bottom of the barrel there). His office door was always open…any of us (whether scholarship or walk-on runners) could walk in there and have a conversation with him at any time. He would talk about workouts with you, or what you needed to work on…or anything else.

A great coach knows how to motivate and inspire…they build confidence.

One day when we were doing a particularly hard workout that once again, I could not finish, he said to me, “if you can ever finish a workout, you might be good.”

Instead of ignoring the fact that I couldn’t finish the workout, or making a comment that made me feel even worse about the fact that I couldn’t finish a workout, he made a simple statement that encouraged me.

I heard “you might be good,” and thought to myself “he thinks I could be good.” That comment was a pivotal moment in my collegiate running career.

While I never went on to become an amazing runner, I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I ran varsity 3 of my 4 years there. I worked my way into scholarship money. I took minutes off of previous PRs. I medaled at the Big 8 championships in track. All because a coach made me believe.

[Tweet “Ever had a coach that made you believe in yourself? #coaching #FTSF”]

I couldn’t find a photo of myself with Q, but I did find one of my future husband with him at one of our races.

Coach Jerry Quiller - University of Colorado

For four years, Q encouraged me and gave me confidence in myself. He challenged me to believe in myself. He gave me a gift. And it’s something I have taken with me into my adult life.

I never had a chance to say thank you to Jerry Quiller and tell him what an impact he made on my life because he passed away in February of 2012 from cancer. I’d like to think he knew, but I wish I had told him. I will always regret that.

This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday (FTSF), hosted by some wonderful blogging friends.


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Wednesday 21st of May 2014

Michelle, I'm so glad you wrote about Coach Q. You know how much I relate to this. I believe he knew what an impact he had on you. And his legacy lives on through your words.


Sunday 18th of May 2014

I loved this post Michelle. We all have such power to unleash a whole lot of good in other people's lives. This is reminder of just how important it is to reach out to others and encourage them.

Thank you for sharing about coach Jerry. Through your words, he will continue to inspire and motivate... what a blessing and a gift that is!

Wishing you a wonderful day. xoxo


Sunday 18th of May 2014

What an awesome post. Coaches are very important.

Kerith Stull

Sunday 18th of May 2014

How awesome! I've never had a coach per se. I was more of a band geek. But, I think we can all serve as a coach to someone else -- a mentor, someone going through something we've already been through. (Visiting from #FTSF)


Sunday 18th of May 2014

Somewhere up above, he is smiling on this post:) What a beautiful tribute. A coach can make the difference. Who knew he would impact you so much- and who knew that you would share this post and make us all stop and think about how we could inspire someone else!