An Open Letter to My Cross Country Coach, by Eileen

By July 21, 2020 NVLD Bloggers

More than ever during these crazy times, I have realized how lucky I was to run for you. Since I think daily about how often you looked out for me and how you have also been such great support to my parents too. So many with an NVLD, or similar disabilities, lack this type of relationship in their lives, which helps me appreciate ours even more.

The first thing that comes to mind is how families have been using humor to cope with social distancing. For most individuals with NVLD, this is an extreme challenge as they take every word so seriously, they often don’t get or understand the humor. It makes me think how fortunate I am that you understood me as a person. The humorous comments we shared together after the repeated mistakes I made are what I remember most. I don’t think I could have handled getting lost on a course or finishing last like I did without it. You truly knew how to bring out the best in me and I always enjoyed you so much.

Photo courtesy of Eileen

Next what comes to mind was how my fine and gross motor skills deficits showed up in cross-country more than one would think, and how you handled it all. I will never forget how you had to put my running bib on for me and how you did it so graciously. I know it wasn’t normal for a high school schooler to not be able to put their bib on. Of course, with my poor balance caused by my poor gross motor skills, the hills on the course could be a challenge and you always supported me.

Lastly, and probably most importantly was the amount of the respect and the confidence you had in me as a person. During my senior year when others were doubting my plans you supported me 100%.  More importantly, you continued to care so much about my success while I was at Dean College and Curry College and then having you at my college graduation parties was so special. Even more special to me was how you continued to support my dreams and goals. Everyday I think how lucky I am to have you be such an important part of my journey and how we enjoy each other’s company. You always believed in me and for that I will always be grateful.

For those with an NVLD who are reading this I hope you understand how special this experience can be. If you exhibit a never give up attitude there’s no doubt in my mind the same could happen for you. If you work hard, are respectful, and exhibit outstanding character, the adult(s) involved will support you. My relationship with Jim Adams is a great example of that and hope you can understand so you can go after your own challenge.


I so love going after a challenge and Jim Adams was the person who inspired me to be that way so I will always adore him for that reason!