On Wednesday night I'm planning to scramble from the weekly Wednesday night group ride over to Davenport North High School for the Quad Cities Athlete of the Year and Hall of Fame induction ceremony. My college coach, Paul Olsen is being inducted into the QC Sports Hall of Fame (long overdue) and I don't want to miss it. Ols', as he is affectionately known by the thousands of athletes that have competed under his guidance, is certainly one of the top 5 most influential figures in my life. Ols' began coaching at Augustana in the mid-1960's and is still leading the Vikings Cross Country and Track and Field teams nearly 50 years later. Ols' earned his Ph.D from the University of Oregon in English. He teaches English classes at Augustana even though he wouldn't need to if he didn't want to. He loves teaching and his classes always are the first to fill up because he teaches like he coaches. There are so many things in my daily life that would be very different if I had not had the complete and utter pleasure of running for him from the fall of 1999 when I tranferred to Augustana through the fall of 2002 when I ran my last collegiate race. I then had the privilage of serving as the assistant coach under Ols' during the 2004 and 2005 cross country seasons where he continued to teach me many valuable life lessons. The following, in order only of what comes to my mind are things I learned from the greatest coach in the world.
1. The Journey is the Goal- When I first arrived on campus I assumed that journey must be to the national meet. I couldn't have been more wrong. This journey is life. The goal is a successful journey through life and the teachings of Ols' allow that journey to be an awesome one.