I recently read an article in this newspaper highlighting some changes to the EHS cross country program that will go into effect this year. Readers who aren’t familiar with the program or its coaches may have thought it all sounded great, but they would be wrong.
For almost two decades there has been a runner taking to the streets and track with our cross country athletes almost every day of every season. You may have noticed this more “mature” runner sweating alongside our kids as they made their way up Warner or Semanski. Assistant Coach Judy Revell was never content to wait at the school for her runners to return or supervise from her car. She believes in a “feet-on” approach where she can put her 30-plus years of competitive running experience to work by modeling smart running, and giving encouragement as well as mid-run advice to the runners individually. Having received a “full ride” to Seattle Pacific University for her running talent, where she achieved All-American status her junior year in the 1500 meters as well as national ranking, and in recent years completed two Boston marathons with numerous qualifications, she has a wealth of running wisdom to share.
With patience and dedication Revell has worked within the “assistant” guidelines year after year waiting for her shot as head coach when unrestrained, she could apply her deep running knowledge. As this season drew near, the start of which would usher in her 50th birthday, it was announced that the boys and girls teams would be splitting and each would have their own head coach. The assistant coach thought her time had finally come, only it hadn’t.
Coach Revell was informed that although coach Jacobson would remain as the boys’ head coach, she would have to interview for the girls’ top spot. Surprised by the news, she prepared to interview for the position she thought she had earned. It turned out to be the first of several nasty surprises which would eventually see her passed over not once but twice before learning through the grapevine that another coach had been hired.
As a former cross country parent and someone who has trained and raced with Coach Revell for 10-plus years, I am ashamed of her treatment. Her enthusiasm and love of coaching along with her obvious qualifications and years as assistant coach should indeed have earned her the opportunity to stand at the helm. The district’s insensitive disposal of her is somehow reminiscent of another letter to the editor that I read in recent years regarding a longtime P.E. teacher and a football coach.
In an increasingly self-oriented world, loyalty and dedication are fading relics of a lost value system. Employers lament their loss but are they really the ones responsible for the shift?