Ever look at the people who have shaped you? My collegiate gymnastics coach, Jeff Richards is responsible for forcing me into a world of “impossible”. 4 Years of impossible actually, teaching me that I’ll never be ready to do something incredible in this world. Both of us had ironically moved to Wisconsin the same year, me, a high school average gymnast; he, a previous D1 assistant coach. Single handed, with a team of 6-D3 gymnasts, he sat us down and said “You will pave the way for this team to go to nationals one day.”
4 years of Impossible
Every day I came in, through tears, yelling and eating mat, failed so hard until I was actually doing the impossible. There was no time for frustration. Threats of getting kicked off the team were frequent my sophomore year, as I was broken apart by having to overcome fear I still can’t clearly explain. He demanded better than who I was, regardless of my logical retorts.
My last name became scary as he would threaten through gritted teeth, “Ramey!” but when it came down to it, he’d wait up to 5 minutes (that’s a long time in gymnastics) to spot me on a skill we both knew I wanted so badly. There were infinite times I’d have to throw a skill I wasn’t ready for, and even spotted, it was terrifying. The trust went as far as this: he’d never let me like “DIE,” but he’d never prevent me from eating it.
Failing is proudly now part of my process with everything big because of this man. Just do the work: know you’re going to fail 10,000x and get through the sometimes very painful numbers, because, in the end your dreams are worth realizing. We both left after the 4th year, obviously he is now the head coach of a D1 nationally winning team, but for those 4 years he demanded the impossible from me.
He was named most inspirational coach 2 times in the 4 years I was there, and we ended up hosting nationals by our 4th year. I am RARELY moved by people. We both know I would never admit it then, but he truly shaped me into someone who BELIEVES I can do anything because it’s only 10,000 failures away. Thank you for being one of very few hero’s in my world.