It really was an amazing year in “my world”. When I took the time to sit back and reflect, I realized a lot of really big things happened. I am truly blessed and I am a lucky guy. So let’s dive right in….
*I turned 40 this past year – let’s not even get into the fact that I am now 41
*I placed an emphasis on fitness and health; and through a combination of focusing on my diet and improving my training, I was able to lose 10 pounds in 2018
*My daughter celebrated her 4th birthday – oh man, is she growing up fast! She also started her second year of school and is such a joy in our lives.
*Kelley and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary – she is a caring and compassionate person and is my best friend. She puts up with a lot, and sacrifices a lot, and she is an amazing mother. I look forward to 50 more with her!
*We helped with four larger service projects this year – including my 13th year of Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) and my 8th year assisting with the Downtown Open House. Kelley introduced me to Project Linus, which is a very nice organization with a strong mission. I also was fortunate to help (ongoing) with two local libraries.
*We traveled a lot – recruiting and family trips took us to 8 states. Madison visited 6 of those states.
*Our cross country program hosted its 8th annual Distance Running Forum this past July. We welcomed a large group to campus and the content was very good. Our Champions Round Table was memorable, and brought seven champions to campus to discuss their journey towards greatness. It was a great event!
*The coaching staff, athletes, their families, alumni and “friends of the program” participated in Waynesburg’s annual “Day of Giving” – and I am proud to announce that we tripled our donors in a 12 month time period. I am still in shock at the kindness and generosity that was displayed. GO JACKETS!
*Those that know me, know that I run a little bit. I don’t run to compete in race (I don’t do that very often anymore) or to win races (that NEVER happens), but just to stay healthy and to feel good. Well, I won a race in 2018. Yep, you read that right. That may never happen again….
*The distance athletes ran to three more championships this year. They are currently in the middle of winning eight straight on the women’s side. The indoor title came down to the final two events (relays) and they crushed it. The outdoor title was epic. The distance girls scored over 100 points and won 6 events. In cross country, the team won the narrowest championship in history (3 points!). The young team saw 6 All-PAC performers (5 of them return in the fall of 2019). That race also saw the men’s team take a huge step forward – I wonder if 2019 might be an HISTORIC year for that group (stay tuned).
*In recent memory, I cannot remember weather playing as much of a role in my life as it did this year. In the cross country season we were involved in a tornado warning, a few days of extreme heat, flash flooding and remnants of a hurricane. The country saw extreme levels of heat and flash flooding throughout the summer. Winter was also brutal for some. I don’t mention it as a political discussion on climate change, but I mention it because it played a big role in my life. We hosted the PAC Cross Country Championships this fall and it was a soggy, muddy and miserable two months of prep work. I am glad that is over for a few years.
*I never really got away from fishing, but it took a back seat for a few years. I was lucky to catch the biggest bass of my life at a small lake in Delaware. I also caught a local bass that was right up there with the biggest of my career. Needless to say, I had a great year of bass fishing and cannot wait for the summer of 2019 to get here so I can catch more.
I love the New Year holiday because it gives us a chance to evaluate the year and game plan for the upcoming year. I am excited to start new this year and focus on some new goals. But 2018 was a big year and I won’t forget it.
Chris Hardie is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Waynesburg University. You can follow him on Twitter @Coach_Hardie_WU or follow the team on Facebook at Waynesburg University Cross Country.