On May 19th my high school gymnastics coach, Bill Christianson passed away from lung cancer. I hadn't seen him in a couple of years and had no idea he was sick. My mom and I attended the funeral and it was so neat to be reminded of what a truly wonderful person he was. There are a few things I learned during my 3 years with Mr. C.
1. ON TIME means early. If we were leaving for a meet at 5:00 he'd be sitting there waiting for us at 20 til. I can remember sitting at the airport two hours early for a flight to Seattle because "you never know" and this was way before 9/11 when you didn't have to come terribly early for a flight.
2. You will never get what you want unless you ask. The Ferris gymnastics program was in dire straits before he came. We had no vault runway (we ran on the gym floor) our beam was ripped, we tumbled on hand-me-down wrestling mats, and we still had the old oval bars that didn't extend wide enough. Slowly, he wore down the administration until we had all new equipment.
3. It's okay to admit that you can't do something. Although he was a good coach, he was not the best around. He knew that and he brought in specialists to help us, choreographers, spotters etc.
4. Have fun and don't stress out. When things were getting intense or stressful around the gym, we'd have a fun day like when he brought his friend who was a karate expert to teach us self-defense. Or the time he brought in a body builder, SO FUN!
5. You are always happiest when you are helping others. He was not a man who cared about "stuff" only about people. He paid the previously mentioned helpers out of his own paycheck, twice he got a limo for us to drive to a competition that fell on my birthday, he was always volunteering his time and talents to people around him without expecting anything in return.
I know the schools in Spokane are mourning the loss of a great educator and mentor. I will truly miss Mr. C he was a great coach and an even better friend.