People I Appreciate...Coach Schanbacher (and a movie recommendation)

Like all of us, you probably had some great teachers, some bad teachers and several mostly average ones. In my case, all it took were a few great ones to make a difference in my life. One that made a difference was my high school cross country and track coach, (and 4th/5th grade gym teacher) Bob Schanbacher. I was thinking of him recently when I came across a documentary about a high school cross country team and their coach called The Long Green Line.

Coach Schanbacher was not the kind of guy who would scream or yell, but you could always tell that he really cared about everyone on the team. Besides the countless hours of running, jumping, lifting  and throwing he made us do there were also plenty of pointers I remember him dispensing. One year in particular – at an assembly – I remember him saying that it’s easy to set goals. People do it all the time. And sometimes people even go as far as to put a plan in place for achieving those goals. But ultimately, he said, it’s not just about setting goals and laying out a plan to accomplish them.Ultimately, it’s about doing the work necessary to get there. As it turns out, our team that year did exactly that. We did the work…and we went to the State Championships. If I recall, there were no stellar performances but nevertheless we accomplished our goal. Although I did not realize it at the time, that lesson stuck with me over the years.

Recently, I reached out to Coach Schanbacher (thank you Google) and within a day I got a response. He wrote back: “A teacher or coach never knows for sure what they leave with each student. They never know which moment or which concept sticks and makes a difference. I have coached a long time now and have had many opportunities to touch lives. I am most thankful for this. And in my attempt to touch lives the students have left their mark on me as well.”

So, Coach Schanbacher: Thank you. You certainly influenced my life and as a result, have had an effect on the lives of the many people around me. Thank you for giving me something to pay forward.

Rivershark Inc