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  • Writer's pictureCCA Pulse Magazine

Have You Ever Had? | April Zuo

I think I’m a lucky person.

Because there are people in my life I would walk the length of the United States for. People who give me a pat on the back and instantaneously explode my happiness meter. People who make me feel safe because who can hurt me when I’m with them?

I think I’m a lucky person, because there are people in my life who have my utmost respect and admiration, more than anything else.

Now you must be wondering, who in the world is she talking about?

Be patient, my friend, you’ll see. You’ll see.

Because before I answer your questions, I’m going to fangirl over them quite a bit, but disguise it as a bunch of stories demonstrating their best traits!

First and foremost, they command respect, not only with their personalities but even in the way they move, walk, even just standing there. Does it have something to do with the fact that they are all over 6 feet tall? Probably, but I’ve met plenty of 6-foot-tall people who don’t draw everyone’s eyes the way they do. It’s in the way they carry themselves, I think — the way they stand, looking so relaxed and quite unbothered, but at the same time, they are somehow ready to face whatever the world has up its sleeve to throw at them. Shoulders back, chin up, all that jazz that makes for an unwavering confidence. So when they talk, you listen, and you listen well.

That paints them as strict, doesn’t it? Really, really strict, even a little scary. And, I admit, maybe they are, especially to younger kids, and I am here to both reinforce and rebut that assumption.

They are strict, on themselves and on others. During workouts, they aren’t afraid to push us to move faster, do more, even extending the amount of time we’re stuck in what feels like a life-draining routine. During competitions, they stand on the sidelines, calling out instructions, letting anger and frustration and sometimes even disappointment bleed into their voice because sometimes, that’s what we need to realize that we aren’t competing at our full potential; to ground ourselves and give it everything we have. Then, when we do, we can hear approval, satisfaction, pride. When we cannot make it far even when we’ve done all we can, there is comfort waiting for us at the end of the day, little pep talks and rubs on the head and calm words that tell us, you did what you could, you did well.

Sometimes, we even get hugs.

But, before you leave thinking they don’t know how to have fun, wait. Stay a while.

Because they do.

Oh man, do they know how to have fun.

Let’s start small. Once, when we were racing, one of them decided on a whim to step on my foot, effectively pinning me in place for the next approximately five seconds. What was I going to do, break away? Not with 200 lb of muscle deciding I was to stay in place, I wasn’t. There was also that time one of them decided that if the kids wanted to play ping pong, they would have to organize the closet first, and when met with protest, did not hesitate to pick up one of the younger kids, sling him over his shoulder, and march him to the closet where he was promptly deposited once more.

And now let’s move on to games themselves. There’s the aforementioned ping pong, but also some other favorites among the kids, like dodgeball, probably because it’s the once in a lifetime chance to gain up on them and target them until we get them out.

I mean, even if it seems like they can teleport, someone has got to hit them eventually.

Now whether that’s a good idea I will not speak on, especially because the next round, those who targeted them immediately become their targets.

Refer back to 6-foot-tall and 200 lb of muscle to figure out why that’s not exactly a favorable position to be in.

And now, after all of that, we’re finally going to answer your burning question:

“Oh my god April, who are these people?!”

Tell me, have you ever had really, really wonderful coaches, the way I have?

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