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The passion started in the spring of 1983 as a skinny kid running around the 440y cement oval at Chauncey Rose Junior High School in Terre Haute, Indiana.  My physical education teacher Mr. Brackell was a great person but he had no idea that he unlocked the passion of running in me. It has been nearly thirty years later and I feel just as passionate about our sport when I was an 8th grader.

In that thirty year journey, I was given an opportunity to display some God-given opportunity as an athlete.  I stood tall inter-scholastically during my time as a distance runner on the high school and collegiate level.  I loved every minute of it, even when things didn’t go according to plan.

The love of the sport did not wane after college when the task of providing for a family was first and foremost. It may have perhaps extended down from a strong upbringing combined with hard work and perseverance that I wanted to give back to running what it gave me. In a few short years, I would start volunteering as a coach and several more years later a fully certified coach. It is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.

I have also been afforded the wonderful opportunity as a mental health professional in the social service arena to work with adolescents in molding, shaping, and perhaps even enhancing their lives. To say the least it is a very challenging occupation, but the reward of seeing a youth succeed is amazing.

It may be hard to believe but a journalist has elements of a teacher, counselor, parent, coach, and athlete.  I think that’s why I feel so comfortable in the setting of a cross country meet or track and field competition.  I was an athlete like the kids that I interview. I am a coach like the coaches that I talk to. I am a parent just like the parents that I meet every weekend.  I am a counselor by trade and I tend to provide a nurturing hand when things don’t always go right for the athlete, and I hope I am here to teach.

Tony Jones

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