When you hear the phrase “Filling the shoes”, you often think of one individual that could be responsible for the outset of many down the road action. As #Giving Tuesday arrives, I realized, that in discussing Coach Vince Morris and the legacy he gave to so many individuals, it takes a community to fill shoes the size he wore.
When you encounter something, as well as a gift that motivates you, exists to motivate those around you, and motivates you and so many others into the future, that is an individual that will change things for the better.
Coach Morris did that day in and day out. As you have the chance to give others that gift they often do not realize they possess,
I hope you can help pass that motivation on further by voting each day as an organization such as the Nanticoke river Watershed Conservancy works to preserve and create that legacy with so many community partners moving forward in the community around them. Your single dollar donation on #GivingDay is another way you can help promote events and participate aside from your participation in current 5k’s that promote so much! http://nanticokeconservancy.org/
“Who will fill those shoes?” I remember that call for a call that no one wanted to hear the call for – a day that I never could actually visualize that would be a Cross Country without a Coach Morris. Coach Perciful made that call to a throng of individuals that had been touched by Coach Morris in more ways than I could run, walk, or count on any given day. Indeed, the very winds that swept through Chapel Branch held a magic that no one would ever know unless you had been a part of Chapel Branch in some way, shape or form.
I often thought myself overly crazy when I found myself arriving at Chapel Branch around 4:30 AM when a 5k that was slated for 8:45 AM allowed over 4 hours for preparation. Not one single time was I too tired as I arose at that hour as if on automatic pilot every single time, always having an internal clock it seemed that told me that was the appropriate time, moving among the paths setting up markers hours before the need, catching the sun rise over so many a part of a trail where I could still hear Coach Morris yelling around a bend, never actually having to see, but believing the voice that always was tied to Chapel Branch, and ultimately to Coach Morris.
There is a magic to being given a gift of inheritance. Anyone lucky enough to have been given an inheritance of commitment, dedication, and perseverance under Coach Morris at Chapel Branch may or may not realize this, but that commitment was an inheritance we received from the day we agreed with Coach Morris philosophy to never, ever, give up. Ms. Morris lived the same philosophy and passes this on to this day, as does Coach Morris everytime someone steps into Chapel Branch.
Can you still hear that calling? Many still do.
“”Coach Vince Morris was probably the strongest and smartest person I’ve ever known” stated one runner under Coach Morris, a sentiment so many young ladies and men grew up realizing into their adult lives. This was a gift often not realized until years after the gift had been given.
“Ice Cream, Wallet!”, “Always try to better yourself”, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, “High Knees!”, “Stop clenching your fist…stop clenching your fist, thats it…your running with balls in your hands”, “Did you give it your all??? If so you should be proud if not, you better do better”, “Look up!”, “The best running form is a kid running on the playground” ; a badminton king and known as Bo by some, his well rehearsed and personal slogans never, ever fell short of raising the level of commitments in our hearts.
Every May of the year was meant to celebrate the Hero that Coach Morris managed to bring out in all of us and celebrate the same qualities we found in Dr. Betts, through the Vince Morris and Dr. Betts 5k Walk/Run.
Tomorrow’s Giving Tuesday helps keep that fire alive at Chapel Branch and keep filling those shoes that Coach Morris, and later Coach Perciful, and even further Dr. Betts would model of us and show how to fill. Coach Morris still remains with so many, in so many ways, and no matter the direction of the wind at Chapel Branch, as soon as you see the trees, hear the trees, and smell that familiar pine from Chapel, you know you are home.
The Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate that generosity encourage from Coach Morris into a legacy today. From creating public awareness events like the Benevolence Night at DogFish Head, establishing local 5k’s to raise awareness, receiving support of local establishments that shared Coach Morris’ belief that we are as strong individually as we are together, we continue to reach audiences with the purposes Coach Morris believed in all his life. We look to you to help support that continued legacy of passing motivation to generation after generation, as has been done all these years.
“The time you have spent thus far in your life has helped to shape the person you are today. You were put on this earth with only so many heartbeats. How you choose to use your remaining heartbeats will define who you are, and who you hope to become. Look back at this time in your life with a sense of achievement, and pride and know you have accomplished things that many people only dream of. Go forward in life with a sense of hope and enthusiasm striving to make things better than the way you found them. Live your life on your own terms never, never wasting a moment of your precious time.” – V. Morris