Attract what you expect,
reflect what you desire,
become what you respect,
mirror what you admire.
Jerry shared with me recently about an experience he had in Albuquerque where he grew up. I would like to pass on to you Jerry's reflections about a very formative experience from his High School years.
Part of my history while growing up in Albuquerque was attending Highland High where my brother and I both graduated (Terry ’62…me ’68). At that time HHS was one of the largest schools in New Mexico. Known as ‘Home of the Hornets’ or ‘the Hive’, as we referred to it. The ‘Hive’ gave me my favorite colors of blue and gold. Ask any of my family which color I will pick and they will all answer “yellow”.
I recently had the privilege of attending the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame dinner in Albuquerque. My high school track coach, Henry Sanchez, and his son, Gary, were receiving recognition for their coaching tenure at HHS. Together they coached track 55 years at ‘the hive’. Henry coached 26 years and asked his son Gary to join him as he finished college. I found Gary about a year ago and asked him to pass my best wishes along to his dad. Thankfully Gary let me know about this event.
Henry identified me during PE class and asked me to try out for the track team in 1966. He thought I would be a good hurdler because of my long legs. I told him I didn’t want to hurdle but that I did want to run. My senior year, all things came together for us as a team and we went undefeated and won state going away by more than 30 points. It was the highlight of my 3 years at HHS.I had run on a relay team my junior year and won a state ribbon for it but we came in third as a team. I was a small part of this team my senior year but I did play a big part in two relays, the 880 and sprint medley. We had the two fastest guys in the state on our team not to mention the fastest miler too. Guys like Charles Kaspar, Stan Hill and Robert Proctor were the real talent of this team along with sophomore Mike McEachern.
We travelled to Roswell, Amarillo and El Paso and had a close call only in the Tri-State meet against Amarillo high (We won 55 to 53). The state meet later in May was interrupted by rain on Saturday night and postponed half way thru the meet. We had to wait till the next day (at a different stadium) to win going away. The closest team, Hobbs, was 31 points behind us.
This was just one of Henry’s 10 state track titles. His son, Gary, won 5 state titles. Henry was also named the National HS Coach of the Year in 1983. I showed up at the banquet excited to get to see Henry again after 46 years, but found out that he had passed just 9 days earlier. It was a bittersweet feeling. I met his widow, daughters and nieces. What a great family this Sanchez clan is! It seemed like everyone in the room (a crowd of 600) was related to him and Gary. Gary did an excellent job of accepting tearfully for his hero...his dad.
I never knew Coach Sanchez as a person… he was always my calm, assuring coach. He knew talent and how to develop it and use it. He did demand that you give it your all. His son Gary picked up the same traits.
Coach Sanchez, I am sorry that I didn’t get to see you at the banquet to let you know of your immense impact on my life. You gave me the drive to always compete and never give up. I know I will see you again somewhere beyond the blue….and gold.
Jerry's reflections remind me of how important early experiences are to our life today as members of our families. Thanks to Jerry for these remarks.
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