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Editor’s note: The Orange County Register is having the area’s spring sports coaches take part in a Q&A about the 2020 season that was cut short by the coronavirus crisis.
Chris Lynch, Laguna Hills track and field
Q: How are you adapting to being home every day during the spring?
A: Luckily, many tracksters can still train “OYO” — On Your Own, particularly distance runners. So I’ve been coaching virtually as much as possible.
I’ve become quite the chef, and even started running again for myself. Also, had time to work on our cross country course, and plant some new trees on it. Made me feel good, like something can grow out of all of this.
Q: As a coach, what do you miss most about your “normal routine” (pre-coronavirus)?
A: Honestly, I just miss seeing my team. Of course practices, meets, the thrill of victory, and agony of defeat, and all of that too, but mostly just miss the fun of spending a couple hours a day with my kids.
Q: When you think about your team these days, what stands out the most?
A: How impressed I am with how they’ve handled all of this. It’s been a combination of acceptance, and hopeful positivity. Of course they are sad about experiences and opportunities lost, but they are not going to let this slow them down! It’s a resilience that I don’t think most adults are capable of.
Q: As a coach, what has been the worst moment for you this spring and why?
A: No question, the hardest thing for me is not sending my seniors off the way they deserve. We have a saying at Laguna Hills, “Seniors do special things,” and I am simply heartbroken that they never got the chance to once again prove that expression true.
Q: And what has been the best moment for you this spring and why?
A: The best moment has been my athletes, current and alumni, checking in on their old coach to make sure he’s doing OK. My 2017 CIF champion cross country gals even organized a Zoom reunion and included their coach. It was very sweet.
Q: If you could have a track meet tomorrow, what would that look like?
A: We just had a wonderful new track installed at Laguna Hills, so I would host an all-comers meet, where literally everyone is welcome; no fees, no scores, no medals, just friends getting together and having fun doing what we love.
Q: What do you want your players to learn from all of this?
A: We practice the “3-P’s” in our training: Patience – Persistence – Positivity. Many of my kids, old and new, have said that they feel the 3-P’s apply more now than ever. Not only in their training, but in school, and in life.
Q: For fun, which athlete(s) on your team made you laugh the most?
A: My boys captain, senior Zayne Kratz. I always got a kick out of his enthusiasm for track and field. He literally wanted to compete in every event he could: 100, 200, 400, discus, 4×100, 4×400. If we had the decathlon, it still probably wouldn’t have had enough events to satisfy him. Always made me smile to see how much energy and love he had for the sport.
Q: For fun, who on your team would you like to challenge to a friendly showdown? Would it be a race, a field event, or perhaps a dance-off on the track?
A: Easy choice, my assistant coach and right-hand man, Scooter Takacs, in a “walk-off” a la “Zoolander.” He would certainly win, but it would be worth it just for the entertainment value. We could all use a good laugh right now, and Scooter always guarantees that!
Q: For fun, what song do you play on the team bus for the final bus ride home?
A: Since this all started, I’ve been sending weekly messages to my team called: “Coach’s Monday Message, Memories, & Music.” The first week’s song was by The Who, “The Kids Are Alright” — and they will be.