Today, I began my career as part-time volunteer elementary school assistant track coach. I wasn’t given that as an official title per se, but I think it has a nice ring to it so I’m basically making business cards.
Confused? I am not surprised. This is a completely random addition to my weekly schedule as of last week and and I wasn’t quite sure I’d show up until I actually showed up. A friend of mine is a teacher at a local school and asked if I’d help. I’m terrified of children, even though in appearance they’re the least intimidating of humans. But, I figured it’d be good for me to do something productive in the community so here I am. Part-Time Volunteer Elementary School Assistant Track Coach extraordinare.
I’ve never felt creepier than when I got to the school early and was wandering around waiting for my teacher friend to text me back and tell me where to go. Aimless walking outside an elementary school is not something I’d recommend you do. But she finally told me to ring the doorbell (yes, doorbell, my school definitely never had a doorbell) and come inside. The person looked through the little camera and evidently decided I looked okay enough to buzz in, so there I was. Back in elementary school. I wandered to the office and someone popped out and asked “Are you Coach Kara?” and I was all, “yeah, I’m Coach Kara what up gangstas”.
Just kidding. That was a (lame) joke.
I was more like “yes oh my god hi I don’t know where I’m going sorry I’m wandering around I don’t know what’s happening this is my first time here ahhh also this is a catholic school so I’m sorry I said oh my god” and she was like “here’s a 3rd grader to walk you down the hall because obviously you need help”.
I arrived to a wild group of kids, desperately searching for my friend. Immediately a group of 3 girls ran up to me and asked if I’m a professional runner, what my job is, what yoga is, what my last name is, and how long I can run for. They also told me I’m pretty which is always nice to hear especially when you have greasy ponytail hair. Not even cute messy bun hair, just full on “I didn’t shower today and I’m kind of sweaty from rushing to get here” hair.
Talk about instant confidence from 4th graders. They were calling me either “Coach Kara” or “Miss Kara” which I like. Miss Kara. So official yet polite-sounding. Like a lady who has tea and scones and actually uses the saucers that come with the tea cups.
I asked them why they joined track and one girl said “it makes me feel happy” and another said “running makes me feel really calm” and I was all “yeah girl! Me too!”. The word”girl” is officially my go-to for my attempts at motivational phrases. I feel like it makes me sound all cool and approachable (uhhh relatively), but I can still push them a little bit without them noticing. Like, “Come on girl! You’ve got this, you don’t need to walk, keep moving!” is a tad better than “STOP COMPLAINING YOU TINY LITTLE CHILD”.
Not that I’d say that. I swear.
One particular little person was complaining a lot, which is concerning because how do you know if they’re actually in severe distress like they claim? Can you really not breathe? Are you really about to collapse on the sidewalk? Are those coughs as questionable as they sound? I don’t want to be responsible for distress or hospital visits. But I also don’t like being tricked.
Aforementioned little person said she likes to dance and sing like Beyonce, so I suggested we sing a song while we run. Our little group sang “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes because apparently that’s who kids listen to these days. Thank heavens I at least knew the chorus. She perked up and sang fine so I figured her breathing was not, in fact, compromised. No ambulances needed.
The highlight of my day (besides being called pretty, duh) was when one kid asked if he should taper for the track meet this weekend. I mean, come on! You gotta love his enthusiasm. If you need to taper for your 4×8, kid, you taper! Carb-load too while you’re at it. I’ll join you.
Moving forward, I will try to be cordial at all track meets and NOT taunt the other teams. As long as no one breaks a nail.