I don’t say “my athletes make me proud” for two reasons. One, they aren’t mine. Two, that’s not their fucking job. 

When I watch them walk past me and step out onto the track, their dreams as exposed as their skin, their eyes a not quite bullet proof vest of want, I prefer to stand alone. I feel the mondo track puncture, six little spike holes per deliberate step, as they walk in line, away from me toward the starting line. 

My shoulders relax as they shake theirs out. But the moment they place their foot just behind the line and stand ready for the gun, I am my own again.

To see an athlete I coach do what she is capable of does fill me up, but it isn’t pride. It doesn’t feel like it’s mine to have.

It comes to and through me. It lifts my eyelids. I think it’s the feeling of life, in concentrate. No added water.

Well maybe a little splash.







Photos courtesy of Jess Barnard and Oiselle

Performances by Collier Lawrence and Mel Lawrence