Chanman's Blog

Sacrificing Graduation to Race

Posted in SHC Track & Field by Andy Chan on May 26, 2010
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After the meet, Marcus and Doug got their diplomas

The sports of track & field and running require a great deal of sacrifice. Whether you are a lifelong adult runner, an elite runner, college team member, or high school athlete, there are sacrifices you must make in order to be successful. The main sacrifice is usually time. It takes time to train. Time to go for a long run, or do your core workout, or to ice a nagging injury. Much of the training required to be the best you can be is not glamorous but most of us who do it consider the opportunity to set a personal record or compete at the highest level that we can, well worth the sacrifice.

Today I share a story about two seniors I coach on the Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory (SHCP) track & field team who had to make a big sacrifice last weekend. As fate would have it the SHCP graduation fell on the same day as the Central Coast Section (CCS) Track & Field Trials. We’ve had this conflict in the past and athletes have had to leave graduation early (Nick Lien ’03, Jason Kobuchi ’04, and Christina Young ’04) or had to come to the meet immediately after the ceremony (Andy Lee ’03, Michelle Gallagher ’03, Tammia Hubbard ’09). But this year the student-athletes had to choose one or the other. With graduation scheduled for 10:00 A.M. and CCS Trials starting at 11:00 A.M. in Gilroy,one and a half hours south of San Francisco, it was impossible to do both.

I had anticipated this conflict at the beginning of the season but didn’t want to jinx our chances of qualifying to compete by bringing it up too soon. Two weeks before the league final I finally told the seniors that, if they qualified for CCS Trials, they and their parents would have a difficult decision to make. At the league final on Friday night May 14, the boys 4X100 relay team of sophomore Michael Munchua, junior Gary Moore, senior Marcus Del Bianco, and senior Doug Parrish qualified for CCS Trials. Now came decision time.

All along the boys were telling me they were going to skip graduation to run CCS Trials. But I encouraged them to go home and talk it over with their families. It wasn’t until Monday that both athletes and their families officially agreed to skip graduation for the meet.

I worked with the SHCP administration to make sure Marcus and Doug were properly recognized at other senior ceremonies during graduation week. I also worked out a secret plan to have a mini-graduation ceremony for them at the track after the CCS Trials meet. I got their diplomas from the registrar. One assistant coach downloaded pomp and circumstance onto his iPod. Another assistant coach brought mini speakers. I made arrangements to have a cap and gown for both Marcus and Doug down in Gilroy. And I dusted off my own hood and gown so that I would be properly attired to present the diplomas. The rest of the team and the families were told to meet on the warm-up field at the end of the meet for the surprise graduation ceremony.

What followed was a touching ceremony where I got to let Marcus and Doug know how much I appreciated the sacrifice they had made to run at the CCS Trials Meet.


5 Responses to 'Sacrificing Graduation to Race'

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  1. Marianne petroni said,

    This is why SHCP is so special! AWESOME. Congratulations to Marcus. Great day for Doug Parrish and good luck at SJSU.

  2. Joe Bardine '73 said,

    Doug & Marcus:

    As I said at the Football Banquet it has been a pleasure to watch all of you throughout the past four years and be able to photograph and video tape many special moments in your high school careers. I am really happy this was videotaped. You both got a huge round of applause at the graduation ceremony at St. Mary’s Cathedral. I know your classmates and friends missed you at this occasion but you are true Irish! I wish you the best in your college years and beyond. Welcome to the alumnai association! And congradulations for your CCS track meet!

    Sincerely your fellow alumnai,

    Joe Bardine ’73

  3. Kaythleen McKeon said,

    Excellent! Another reason why I selected SHCP for my daughter
    now finishing a fabulous freshman year. Thank You!

  4. Erika McGriff-Parrish said,

    This was a truly amazing day for both Marcus and Doug. To be able to compete and qualify for CCS Finals on Graduation Day will never be forgotten by them. Doug PR’d his 400 time by running a 50 flat and that was the first thing he said to me leaving the track. Little did he know his cap and gown were waiting for him around the corner for a surprise Graduation Ceremony orchestrated by Coach Chan and his wonderful coaching staff. This Graduation Day will never be forgotten. I am so thankful to Coach Chan and his coaching staff for making sure that Marcus and Doug were truly celebrated and I am thankful for the school’s Administration for being supportive. As a parent you never want your child to miss out on anything life has to offer, like a their High School Graduation. But when it was all said and done, I was pleased to know that Doug and Marcus were celebrated and rewarded in many special ways in this past week that will surely make for fond memories of their unique High School Graduation for years to come. As Doug’s mother I thank Coach Chan and his staff for being supportive, caring and dedicated to all the children they coach. I also would like to wish you ALL luck at Friday night’s CCS Finals. Go Irish!

    My Sincere Thanks To The Coaching Staff!!

  5. Evelyn Tapel said,

    These boys have to be commended for making a decision to miss an important day of their high school years. This is the one BIG day that students look forward to and these boys made a big sacrifice for SHCP. Congratulations to Doug and Marcus. Good luck at the finals.

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