Tag Archives: Haymakers

Finding the right words…

Today marks the third 5K race in 8 days for the Haymaker Varsity Cross Country team. We are into the “tough” part of the season where fitness is critical and mental determination creates success. As a coach, I sometimes find myself struggling to find the right words to help the athletes believe in themselves and continuously engage in the running journey.

Words are powerful.

When chosen carefully and delivered effectively:

  • They inspire.
  • They create.
  • They bring beauty to our lives.

In order for words to bring about positive change, they must be heard and they must be meaningful. The bottom line for us is that, as a team, we must celebrate our differences as we build team unity. A culture of hard work and excellence plays a critical role. And, it extends beyond the physical to include our ability to be good teammates.

What are the top 5 qualities of a good teammate?

Heart: Packing your FAITH to trust in both yourself and your teammates creates a team with heart. Building a positive culture inspires a unity dedicated to greatness.

Work Ethic: The road to excellence is never comfortable. Expect to work tirelessly under conditions that will be uncomfortable. Success is often found in the midst of challenge and surrounded by hard work.

Integrity: Truth in thoughts, words and actions creates a team worth fighting for. Love yourself enough to be true to your uniqueness – Love your teammates enough to embrace diversity – Love your sport enough to give it your all.

Leadership: Supporting and mentoring others inspires greatness. The team is bigger than any one individual or race. What you build together is infinitely greater than anything that you can build alone. Life is a journey – one that contains a vastness of joy that can only be tapped through community.

Passion: Race with passion. Give it your all, recognizing that you bring honor to your God, your team, and your sport when you dig deep to compete with perseverance.

Go Haymakers!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Family, General, Rural Communities

Packing her FAITH to fly…

My favorite blonde cowgirl trades her horse for a pole vault pole tomorrow afternoon to compete in the Nebraska State Track and Field Championships. I’m pretty proud of Megan as she has had an awesome freshman year track season! It’s been a lot of fun to watch her work hard and pack her FAITH to fly 🙂

My Feed Yard Foodie video for the week highlights her pole vaulting prowess. Please help me to wish her the best as she tackles one of her favorite off farm challenges @ Burke Stadium in Omaha.  Go Meg!

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under Video Fun on the Farm

Life is a Series of Callings…

anneagxc.jpgI believe that life is a series of callings.  Although my faith is deeply personal and generally manifests itself outside of church walls, my relationship with God leads me on the journey.  I followed my heart when I became involved in work to improve animal welfare for cattle and this same desire for positive change led me to coaching youth athletics.  Likely the only two things that these topics share in common is my passion to make a positive difference.

I had a brief foray into coaching immediately after graduating from college and moving to Nebraska.  I served in the volunteer role of assistant coach to the high school Cross Country team in the late 1990’s prior to the birth of my favorite brunette.  A busy life running a cattle feed yard and raising a young family took me away from coaching for about a decade, but life has a way of placing a person in the right place at the right time.

I had a wake up call the year that I turned 30 as I lost my health due to an autoimmune system disease.  The following five years provided a personal battle that reminded me how precious a gift each day truly is.  God has a way of putting life into perspective and, as I worked to regain my health, I found myself inspired to coach again — this time at the swimming pool.  Seven years later, with the help of the same awesome lady who guided me in my first foray of Haymaker XC coaching, our local community has a thriving recreational swim team where fitness and fun combine to teach life skills to almost 50 budding athletes.

This fall I took on an additional volunteer coaching gig — coming full circle back to the Haymaker Cross Country team.  Ironically, my favorite brunette is now a member of the team which makes me smile as I was eight months pregnant when I hung up my XC coaching hat the first time.  I am back on the Haymaker roster as an assistant which allows me to mentor just under thirty junior high and high school athletes on their quest for greatness.

CI2.jpg

Coaching refills my cup — it touches my heart as I see God in the young people that I get to mentor.

CIG1.JPG

There is something so truly special in playing a leadership role in an athlete’s journey.  You learn to coach the athlete in the moment that they need you — filling each unique void — giving direction while also inspiring good independent decision making.  Athletics teach toughness, work ethic, empathy, and personal sacrifice.  They are about developing fitness: mental, emotional, and physical in order to work toward a common goal.  There is nothing more rewarding than watching a culture of greatness develop amongst teammates.

The Haymaker Cross Country team personifies all of these things, and I am truly blessed to be a part of it.  Like many coaches, I don’t coach for the win.  I coach for the athlete — focusing on developing personal life skills that create leaders.  The development of this positive culture brings the win, and it is so much sweeter when the athletes lead the way.

The calling of a coach is a special one.  It comes from a quest to use your talents to make a difference in the lives of the young people who will create the future.  When I see the athletes dig deep to persevere during competition or unselfishly reach out to teammates in need, I know that God is at work and my heart fills with optimism for all of those times yet to come.

Go Haymakers!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Chronicles of a Retiring Feed Yard Boss Lady, General, Rural Communities

Track Season in Nebraska…

In Florida, track season is filled with heat and afternoon thunderstorms.  The humidity grabs at you with a consistent tug from March to the end of May.  I ran the two mile, and remember hoping that my races fell in the evening rather than during the full sun of the afternoon.

In Nebraska, track season is filled with wind, snow, cold rain, and the occasional bout of warmth.  It provides a completely different experience for the athletes with a frequently changing set of environmental elements.  The weather toughens the competitors and gives them a firm appreciation for the nice days that occasionally align with the track meet schedule.

With three girls competing in track at three different levels, my favorite farmer and I spend a lot of afternoons/evenings at meets.  It is fortunate that we are track junkies and love every minute of it 🙂

As we prepare to finish up the second straight week with four meets to attend, I remind myself how awesome it is to watch my girls and their teammates fight for success.  Ashley Grace and Megan both made the record board last week — Ashley Grace in her high school 4 X 800 meter relay, and Megan in the junior high pole vault.

A big smile before the relay...

A big smile before the relay…There was an even bigger one after the run!

It’s always fun to continue to legacy of Burkholder record holders for the Cozad Haymakers.  The girls watched their dad’s 20 year old sprinting records fall a few years ago, and are now enjoying teasing him that they took his place on the record board…

Megan sailing over 9′ — #cowgirlsmakegoodpolevaulters

 Ashley Grace and her team head to the Class B Districts today with aspirations of competing in Omaha next week at the Nebraska State High School track meet.  Megan will end her junior high career pole vaulting Saturday at the Nebraska State Junior High track meet.  Karyn finally will trade the bleachers for the track on Sunday competing in the high jump, 400 and 800 meter runs.  After watching her sisters for 8 weeks, she is ready to be an athlete instead of a spectator!

As for Matt and I, we will celebrate the awesomeness of our girls as we proudly watch them travel down the road to excellence.  I might also be found teasing my favorite farmer as my name still appears on my high school record board 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under General

The Cozad Haymakers Embark On a Journey With FFA…

As a city raised “east coaster”, my first experience with FFA (Future Farmers of America) occurred as an adult several years after I went to work at the feed yard. As I became involved as a volunteer in agricultural advocacy work and the promotion of the Beef Quality Assurance program, my path began to cross with FFA instructors. Some of my favorite public speaking gigs have been with FFA students – sharing my story and answering questions from the best and the brightest that will soon be the future of agriculture.

I am excited to report that my home town of Cozad recently committed to building an FFA program in our school system. It is an honor for me to be involved in the process as a member of the community advisory group. While I truly believe that “it takes a community to raise a child”, I also believe that it takes a diverse blend of educators and community members to create situations where our young adults can increase their knowledge and skills in order to provide for the future.

IMG_9860

 

Where does my food come from? — appears to be the million dollar question in 2015. Food unites us: from the Nebraska farmer to the urban executive to the small town electrician. It unites us because, quite frankly, we all need to eat. The ability to create a program where students in my home town can both learn where their food comes from as well as how to grow it – today, and on into the future – is an incredible privilege.

Agriculture provides the heart of our town. The majority of our community members are involved in farming in a variety of venues. What excites the team builder in me the most is the ability to pair these savvy folks with the awesome set of teenagers that make up the Haymaker school community.  The journey involves a passionate FFA educator bridging together these experienced and skilled entrepreneurial tradesmen with the next generation of farmers.

haymakerfootball6

We believe in our designated journey. We have a calm and supportive ocean. We have a seaworthy ship. We just need a captain. The Cozad High School began taking applications for the FFA educator position last week. Please help to spread the word as we search for a passionate leader to navigate the journey. Contact Dustin Favinger at Cozad High School for more information.

308-784-2744 or dustin.favinger@cozadcityschools.net

Go Haymakers!

4 Comments

Filed under General, Rural Communities

The Color Of Red…

Fall brings out the color of red – not just in Nebraska where children are taught at a very young age that red is the color of choice, but all throughout the Great Plains as the growing season draws to an end. I never tire of viewing the fall foliage as God’s paintbrush shines magnificently during the month of October.Megfallpicturecollage.jpg

My favorite cowgirl shares my love for the fall colors and does a beautiful job of painting a picture of Nebraska in the fall with this collage of photos that she took with her Granddaddy’s camera.

The 8th of October often finds me traveling to Long Valley, South Dakota to get Megan’s favorite red angus calves. The day starts early as I head north about 5:30am, and I always take a moment to appreciate the sunrise in the beautiful meadows and wetlands south of Valentine, NE.

valentinesunrise.jpg

Mid-morning finds me at the ranch loading the calves so that they can travel south to the feed yard. Megan loves the calves because of their beautiful red color. I love them for their outstanding disposition which makes the transition into the feed yard and the feeding period so much smoother. It is a joy to feed cattle that receive excellent care during their entire lifetime, and Larry and Donita Denke are great partners to have in this great journey of beef production.Denkecollage.jpg

This year my favorite farmer traveled to South Dakota with me making his first “ranch trip” in more than a decade. The fall is such a busy time of year, and having a full day to spend with Matt is always a blessing. He rode along (outside of his love of spending time with me) because we made a detour to Ainsworth, Nebraska on our way home to watch our favorite Cross Country running brunette lead her team in the Conference Championship meet.XCcollage.jpg

The Lady Haymakers brought home the team gold placing all four runners in the top ten individual places. Ashley Grace ran a PR of 20:24 for the 5K race with a 2nd place individual finish. The Lady Haymakers compete in the District Championships this Thursday with their sights set on the Nebraska State Championship meet Friday October 23rd.

On the home front, things remain busy. The Feed Yard Foodie family prays for kindness from Mother Nature this time of year as the fall farm chore list remains extensive. I try to start each day with a two tiered chant: Go Haymakers! Go Beef!  My favorite farmer usually throws in a Go Big Red!

Fall blessings to you and your families.

9 Comments

Filed under Family

The Lady Haymakers…

The fall run continues in Haymaker country.  Outside of the feed yard, you will find me at sporting events cheering on our community’s athletes.  Lest you all think that I am “sitting on my laurels” and letting my writing skills grow rusty, today I share a letter that I wrote to our Lady Haymaker athletes.  These awesome young women are in the heart of their fall sports seasons.

girlshaymakersportscollage.jpgDear Lady Haymakers,

When I became an honorary Lady Haymaker in June of 1996, I brought with me a desire to see women’s athletics rise to a new level of excellence in our town. As a lifelong athlete, I recognized the importance of sports in the development of personal growth and confidence.

Two decades later, I now realize the additional role that young athletes play in promoting community spirit. Quite simply, you are our greatest blessing. I have had the pleasure of coaching many of you in T ball, soccer, track and swim team as you started your athletic careers; and it brings me incredible pride to watch each of you find excellence as young women on the athletic field. As parents and community members, I think that sometimes we forget to tell you how important you are — to yourself, to your team, and to your town. You are a joy to watch, and every effort that you put forth representing us builds the future.

The road to excellence is not comfortable, but it is an amazing journey. Every race, every game, every competition is an opportunity to attain greatness. The fatigue, pain, and challenges that you face during competition provide you with the ability to gain strength. Hard work, tenacity, leadership and compassion enable your team to thrive. The confidence that comes with each victory not only brings incredible joy but also provides a basis of personal faith that will help to carry you the rest of your life.

The next few weeks will provide the finale of your fall sports season. Your successes this season have been plentiful, and the time now comes to: Finish Strong, Dig Deep, and Always, Always Believe! You have the talent, the determination, and the power to raise the bar — It is your effort that builds a culture of excellence as a Lady Haymaker.

I believe in you. Whether on the Golf course, the Softball field, the Volleyball court, or the Cross Country course —

  • Aim high
  • Compete with passion
  • Recognize that you can attain far more than you ever dreamed.
  • Unify together to embrace the challenge and fight for the victory.

It is in giving of yourself that you receive.

Your biggest fan,
Anne

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Rural Communities

Dear Swimmer…

As most of you know, I coach my community’s swim team.  Last weekend, we competed in the Qualifier Meet and next Saturday we will travel to Championships.  I used to think that the best thing that I got out of competitive swimming was the ability to study and compete at an elite Ivy League college.  While I truly treasure my time at Dartmouth, today I realize that the best gift that I received from competitive swimming was the skills and ability to coach the young people in my beloved town.

Each one of the swimmers on my team holds a special place in my heart, and I believe that coaching them allows me to do God’s work in a meaningful and unique way.  Below you will find a letter that I wrote to my athletes this week as we prepare for the final meet of the season.  I am sharing it here in the hopes that it will speak to you, and be an inspiration for you to do youth volunteer work.  Our children are our future — our greatest asset as well as our greatest responsibility.

swimteam2015a

Dear Swimmer,

We spend many hours together learning from each other as we journey through each season. As we approach the 2015 Championships, there are a few things that I would like to say to you.

  1. I am proud of you and I love to watch you develop strength and fitness. I know that there are times when you think that I am crazy because of what I ask you to do each day in the pool, but I know that those things will take you one step closer to triumph. I believe that “the only place that you find success before work is in the dictionary” (May Smith), and it is my job to teach you how to work. I created the Pitchfork Challenges that we do each week in practice to help you realize that personal victory stems from reaching above and beyond your capabilities in order to accomplish far more than your dreams. It isn’t meant to be easy, easy does not create meaningful improvement.
  2. My goal for you is physical strength and fitness, the development of a tenacious mental focus, and the creation of emotional confidence and personal belief in your own God given ability. I look at each of you at the beginning of the year – I watch you grow during the season – and I hope for improvement in each of these things by our final meet. I do not compare you to other swimmers, rather, I compare you to yourself as you continue down your own unique swimming journey.
  3. Please know that we share every challenge and success that occurs along this journey. When you stumble—I hurt for you – When you find success, my heart is filled with joy – We are in this together. I do my best to provide you with appropriate leadership. I promise that I will harass you when you do not give your best effort. I promise that I will push you to search for excellence, rather than settling for adequate. I realize that you may not always think that my actions are “fair” or “right”. I understand this, but please know that I have your best interest at heart. While I love to be your friend, it is more important that I be your coach.
  4. The most important thing that I can teach you is to believe. The weakest muscle in your body is your brain. To be successful you must learn to trust: acting as your own advocate, as well as an advocate for your teammates. There are no limitations in life, other than the ones that you place on yourself. Learn to open your mind so that your body can fly.
  5. I care. I care about you – not just the athlete, but the person that makes you so very special. I will always be your biggest fan and I will always believe in you. Realize that although sometimes it might be easier for me to do it for you, I care enough about you that I will back away so that you can learn to do it for yourself.

Next Saturday you will compete at the Championship Meet. You will represent yourself, your team, and your community of Cozad. All of the hard work that we have done will come together to help both you and our team to achieve greatness. I ask that you give of yourself – for yourself—and for the other 52 swimmers that proudly wear the Cozad Pitchfork on their caps. Be physically strong, mentally tough, and emotionally confident – It is these three things that will lead us to victory.

Go Haymakers!

Coach Anne

6 Comments

Filed under Family, General, Rural Communities