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Nick Coburn
I suck at a lot of things. Really, I do. Writing, talking, running, studying
and I can never seem to find the last place I put my phone, but thats beside
the point, and the point is that I suck at a lot of things. School was never
really my thing, sure I went to class every day, stayed in class until the bell
rung, wrote down notes and was courteous to my teachers, but school never
interested me. It never fully captivated me for long periods of time and
seemed like a waste of my precious time and energy. My grades werent
stellar but I never fell below a B average. My sister on the other was the
exact opposite. She was an amazing soccer player and always made the
principals honor roll. She was the trophy of my family; she graduated with a
3.86 and was to attend Virginia Tech on an athletic scholarship to play
womens soccer. As my sister graduated and moved on into her collegiate
career, I was left in high school as a lowly junior. A junior who never really
knew what he wanted to do with his life. I wasnt good at making friends or
showing emotion, both things my sister excelled at. I tried out for the high
school football team in the fall and hated almost every second of it. The

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coaches had this false pretense that our team was made of champions and
we were going to win the state title, but we lost every game. Failure seemed
to be this poltergeist that never eased its grip on me. I was one hundred
percent sure that I was never going to be as successful as my sister and the
lack of success on the football team seemed like the nail in the coffin.
The winter sports began to start up and I signed up for track and field,
but only to stay in shape, not because I like running. The very first day of
tryouts I was told I was too big to be a runner, and I knew that. The track
coach told me that I was a thrower. He said guys like me were meant to
throw shot and discus. He directed me over towards the throwing circle and
told me very basic instructions on what I should be doing. I listened to him,
but I could tell he had no clue what he was talking about. I acted like I
understood what he was saying just to get him away from me so I could try it
out myself. I walked into this 6 foot wide circle and stared out into the field
that I was supposed to throw this twelve pound ball into. I bent over to pick
up the shot and was overwhelmed with the sheer weight of the object. I
could barely lift it with one hand. The rust that had accumulated on the
surface of the shot rubbed off onto my hands and made a distinct metallic
smell. This was not an event for those who cared about cleanliness. My
coach told me that before you throw the shot it needed to be resting on your
neck then thrown from there, so I put it on my neck and threw it as far as I
physically was able to. It hit just above the twenty foot mark and I was
shocked at how bad I was. Sure it was the very first time I picked up this

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object but I expected better. So I ran out and picked up the shot and
repeated the process again, and again, and again, and again. I loved it. It
seemed every single time I threw the shot it would go farther and farther.
After about two hours of throwing I realized I found my passion. My coach
took me to a few meets and began to see the potential in me. He asked one
of the weightlifting teachers at my school to help me learn the nuances of
throwing the shot. This teacher was going to be the man that propelled my
mediocre throw into an unbeatable one.
Coach Dodds, was his name, at least thats what I call him. He is a
living legend. A collegiate decathlete and the hall of fame quarterback for
Towson University Class of 69. He spent 50+ years in the Howard County
school system and coached an immeasurable amount of people. He told me
that in order for me to get better, I would have to trust the system that he
put in place. He said I needed to come to practice with an open mind and be
willing to learn and that being a champion is not easy and full of ups and
downs. He made me believe in myself. Spring of my junior year we got to
work. He had me lifting weights, running on the track, and most importantly
practicing technique for throwing. Over and over again he would have me do
these drills that were tedious and very specific to the part of my body that
helped my throws. After an entire season with Coach Dodds I saw my throws
increase by 10 feet. That may not seem like too much, but in the shot put
world it is. By my senior year of high school I was a shot put aficionado. He
led me to the county title in my winter season and the county title in the

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spring season of track. Coach Dodds was with me every single step of the
way. At meets he would watch from the bleachers and after I threw I would
run over to him to see what he had to say. More often than not he would tell
me it was a good throw, but it needed a little extra power, speed or
precision. In May of my senior year I made it to the MPSAA 3A state meet
held at Morgan State University in Baltimore. I was ridiculously nervous, but
Coach Dodds told me to find solace in the fact that Ive been throwing for a
year now and told me that I should be confident and stoic. Those words rung
in my head when I entered the circle to perform my throws. I could feel the
eyes of my competitors and their coaches judging me and sizing me up. I put
my feet into position and took a deep breath. I trusted the shot up onto my
neck and closed my eyes. I couldnt hear anything, not a single noise. All of
my focus was on this small twelve pound ball. I ran through in my head the
perfect throw and let my body follow. My throws were over in less than a
second. State Champion. I had done it. All of my hard work and dedication
validated in a single moment. I was ecstatic, I ran over to Coach Dodds and
shook his hand and thanked him repeatedly for believing in me and giving
me the skills that I needed to succeed.
Cut down, remove fluff
Focus more on coach dodds, he is why you are writing about this after all
Less info on beginning of track, more details on the end

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