Charley’s World Episode Six

Charley’s community was often called the “Kenya of long-distance runners”. The mountain terrain was perfect for training for those who had the discipline to practice. Charley’s coach had retired and moved south and the school’s math teacher was asked to be the new cross-country coach. Sam, the new coach, had no experience in coaching, but he had been on the cross-country team 15 years ago.

Charley decided to visit the team to get them off to a good start. He was a legend in the community of runners so his visit was an inspiration. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t very good. They had potential, but Sam just didn’t know how to develop that potential.

Charley couldn’t resist. He stepped in to give some tips to the runners. Their times did show some improvement, but they were still far away from their old glory. Charley wanted to help, but he was committed to Natty and Marco, and their after-school sessions were at the same time as the cross-country team practiced. And there was the question of Charley’s plan to return to college.

As he reflected on his experience with the cross-country team that evening, Charley recalled that one of the valuable lessons his coach had taught him was visualization. He was taught how to see himself approaching the steepest hill with confidence. This was something he wanted to share with the cross-country team, but how? He already had Natty visualizing being asked to read in front of the class and this really helped her.

The more he thought of what he could do to help the cross-country team, the more his own decision nagged at him. He tried to visualize himself returning to college but just couldn’t. But visions of Natty and Marco excelling were very clear. He also wanted to visualize success for the cross-country team, but that vision was still foggy.

After a night’s sleep, Charley decided that his best way to help the cross-country team was to coach the coach. They agreed to meet 3 times per week so Charley could give coaching tips on distance running. On the weekends, Charley would be with the cross-country team cheering them on.

Charley began to write out what the cross-country runners could do to improve their practice skills. While he couldn’t be at practice, he could help them by showing them the traits of successful long distance running.

Charley’s own decision began to firm up in his mind. He would not return to the University, at least not yet. In reality, he was already fulfilling the dream that a University education would provide for him.

Little did he know at that moment, that the dream he had would become even more than he visualized.

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“Visualize what you want to do before you do it. Visualization is so powerful that when you know what you want, you will get it.” – Audrey Flack (wine critic)