Sarah Eshman May –
That’s how I would describe many parts of my life. However, one particular blessing stuck out this archery season that is almost overpowering. First, though, I need to explain a few things.
In my last article, I wrote about how my team was excluded from the state scholarship shootout. It affected everyone on the team, but the most heavy damage was done to the top high school shooters of the team. Some of us had major chances at winning a scholarship. That money would have helped us pay for college tuition, rent, or any other of the many expenses that come with going to college. But none of us got that opportunity.
The second thing I need to explain is how important my coaches are to me. They have guided our team through so many difficulties and to many victories. We just won our third state championship in a row, even after being set at a huge disadvantage by some very cruel people. When those people left our team hurting and with new struggles and lowered chances of success, our coaches stayed optimistic. They changed the atmosphere of our team, turning it from a divided group into a true family. Each of us archers has a bond with each other. Practice genuinely feels like home.
One of my coaches, Chuck Raymer, also runs Operation Quest. It’s a nonprofit organization that helps to educate people about outdoor activities- like archery. Chuck and Operation Quest put together two scholarships for the two top shooters of our team. Those archers were myself and my friend of nearly nine years, Walt.
Walt and I were each awarded one of those $500 scholarships at our team’s end-of-the-season party. The coaches were giving out the usual yearly awards, and then called me and Walt to the front. Neither of us knew what was going on.
Then Coach Chuck started explaining. He said how frustrating it was that the majority of the archers on the team were treated badly for years. Our exclusion from the scholarship shoot only further upset him, and rightfully so. He told us how he wished he could make it up for us. And then he opened an envelope and handed me and Walt each a scholarship.
I don’t really know how to explain how that moment felt. It was overwhelming gratitude, relief, and excitement all at once. I had already accepted that I missed out on the opportunity for scholarships. But here was this amazing blessing from the most amazing coach.
Chuck has already done so much for me- from standing up for me when I wasn’t there, to guiding me through slumps, to fine-tuning my form until my shot became so precise, I won the national championship for 3D. He has supported me throughout my entire archery experience, and for that I am forever grateful. This scholarship has been a massive blessing to my life, but I think that what it has done most is made me realize that my coaches are my biggest blessing of all.
Thank you, Coach Chuck!