I wrote this letter to my child hood swim coach a few weeks back. It was one of those things where I was just riding along and it came to me that I should. I am so glad that I did, because last night he passed away alone in a hotel room with out his wife, as he was a trip to consult with other swim coaches. Please remember to tell the people you love that you do. I am crushed however I can’t imagine how I would feel had I not sent the letter.
For the last ten years I have had the pleasure of coaching a youth cycling team El Grupo, as you may have seen. In fact last year we won Cycling team of the year from USA cycling. It was quite the honor. I often times get asked why I do what I do. Why I spend all my free time working to build an organization that I do not get any financial reward from. I never really give a real answer as its a hard thing to quantify, as I really always come back to a really emotional time. The last time I was ever asked by anyone how I was doing in regards to my father passing away, was by you. Sure my wife has, but that is quite different. I can vividly remember the time you pulled me out of the water and asked, and I can remember acting like quite the brat blowing up at you. It meant a lot that you asked. It still means a lot. Its incredible to think that a simple question that was met with such youth aggression still has such a lasting impact. I suppose when someone asks from now on, why I do what I do, it should be because you asked. As now I find myself ever asking my kids, how they are doing. I am fortunate enough now to have the kids that need that question in their lives and I will forever search for that kid. So thank you so much for asking. I still struggle profoundly but am in a great place. If you are ever again in Tucson, I would be over joyed to take you to lunch. 

8 Responses to “Life is crazy”

  1. Ana

    I am very sorry to hear that, coach. That is a beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing this and being such a wonderful coach. I am certain your swim coach would be proud to see our beautiful team.

  2. Kristi

    And you asked the same question to a kid I know…. thank you!

  3. Elena

    My heart goes out to you! Much love and respect for sharing such a tender story with us. We are blessed to have you as our head coach. Thank you for all you do!

  4. Sue

    Sorry for your loss coach, we are so lucky to have you in our lives. Love you!

  5. Ron

    Sorry for your loss Coach, I too have been molded by 3 very important people in my life, my parents, my coach (also swimming) and my drill instructor. But they all had something in common a sense of TEAM and FAMILY. And I am glad to say from what I observed with EL Grupo this is the essence of this team and you represent the Leadership that we all follow. Thanks.

  6. Greg

    Thanks for sharing such a poignant story. We all need reminding of what really matters in this life. Lost my father when I was still a boy and those people who simply let me know they cared made such a difference and they probably never knew it.

  7. Dave

    Ignacio, thanks for sharing your memories. My condolences to you.