For my Coach O’Brien

Now, let me tell you about my coach: his name is Jim O’brien. He currently was the head coach of the Arcadia High Cross Country Team. In the last three years, he has pushed the team to win two national championships. We have consistently won many CIF and state championships, too. He was named California Coach of the Year among many other numerous awards.

But the awards are nothing. What is perhaps my coach’s best achievement is that he made Arcadia High School a phenomenal cross country force. He brought it to history. He brought to not only state recognition but also national recognition.

And what does my oh-so-lovely Arcadia Unified School District board do? They fired him. For doing nothing wrong. For doing something great. Read this article for more background info: Arcadia Fires Nationally Recognized Coach.

Photo: #obriensarmy#arcadialogic

I feel sad for my coach. Not only has he had been fired, but there have been rumors that Coach was fired for refusing to let his cross country members from joining the AHS track team, whose coach has had a few personal conflicts with OBrien. All of that was bullshit. Cause I was there.

But today I don’t want to do any finger-pointing or name-calling. Today I want to tell my experience with O’Brien.

Now, it all begin 2013 year second semester. You see, back then I was just a regular PE student. Nothing to pride in terms of athletics. Well, it all happened that somehow I got landed in O’brien’s PE class for second semester. (He taught PE along with coaching cross country.) I don’t know whether you can call it destiny, but looking back, it definitely felt like that. The second day of PE, we did a mile run. He saw me and a few other couple guys. He called us over and offered us to join cross country. Of the guys, only me and one other person accepted. That one person quit, however, so it was just me. I was his sole man to join from PE. I accepted, just because I thought why not, even though I never have had plans to join cross country later on. I’d bet that had I never landed in his PE class, I would have never joined cross country, and I would have never been able to have such a wonderful running experience.

The first few days of cross country for me were a little bit hard, given that I was new. At first, I thought he never noticed me, that he saw me as insignificant given that I had just came out from PE class. But I was surprised one day that he came up to me and complimented on how hard I worked and encouraged me to continue. Just that small compliment boosted my spirit up. Coach could make anybody feel good, and that was definitely a quality I appreciated very much. But more importantly, I was even more touched on how he noticed and even gave praise to a newbie liked me.

I remember my first race. I was nervous. Really nervous. And of all the coaches that I could have had in the world, it was Coach O’Brien who noticed it. And he came up to me and talked to me. He gave me an inspirational lecture of telling me to not get nervous and to just run as I used to. In fact, the donkey story that I posted a few posts ago was what he told me. It boosted up my morale so much that I ran that race with confidence. When I found out that I had PRed, I whooped and yelled. I was extremely happy. Coach just stood by the sidelines smiling.

From that day on, I PRed dramatically. Although O’Brien himself would say it’s mostly from my hard work, I’d gave most of the credit to his training program. Although tons of time the workouts were hard and not fun, they usually paid off in the end. And coach just didn’t just stand there and yell at us to do the hard work-outs. He encouraged us continuously and was by our side all the way. The result? My mile went from a 7:10 to a 5:43. My 2-mile went from 14:00 to 12:20. My 3-mile went from 21:56 to 20:55. And my short distances improved as well. All in just four months. The results speak for themselves.

His lectures were also an interesting aspect of him, too. Almost all of them had humor in them. And boy was Coach a funny man. In his lectures too were there a little bit dislike here and there. But in the end, he always demanded of us to be polite, to be kind, to be respectful. Cause that was who he is. He was our role model. But it was the most recent lecture that really touched me. It was when he came to us and told us that he was fired. And no, it was not a mourning scene. There was no crying, weeping, no gnashing of teeth. He took it professionally and calmly. He looked forward to the next step: helping the team as much as he can even after being fired. That’s how much he cared and how dedicated he was.

I’ve noticed the times in which he paid from his own paycheck to cover cross country expenses. I’ve noticed the times in which he put cross country over his own family time. And, simply said, I’m impressed by this sacrifice and dedication. Sadly, he’s being fired and seemingly those sacrifices have gone down the drain.

I’ve only know him for about five to six months now. Yet, I would like to say how fortunate I am to have met such a wonderful person like Coach O’Brien.

Please support him being hired back! Like the Facebook Page Keep Coach O Brien At Arcadia and check out the info there, too. Thanks.


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