First Class(The latest, and probably last, home for my magazine column was Marathon & Beyond. That seven-year stay ended in 2011. Now I have permission to republish those pieces. This one comes from the May 2005 issue.)
Reading the book and seeing the movie Seabiscuit reminded me of Dean Roe. I didn’t connect my first coach with the racehorse but with his trainer, Tom Smith. He spoke one of the best lines I’ve ever heard about coaching: “A horse doesn’t care how much you know until it knows how much you care.” Two-legged runners feel the same way. Mr. Roe wasn’t technically savvy in running. But, oh, how he cared about his athletes. The young can sense this without being told. I think of Tom Smith’s line, and my first coach’s application of it, while greeting a new running class the first day of each term at the University of Oregon.