If there's anything I hate, it's saying goodbye. I've never been good at it. Usually it comes with a promise to keep in touch, which rarely happens. Well, now it's easier to do with the advent of e-mail, instant messaging, Skype and cool stuff like that.
Most of the time I've had to deal with good goodbyes, where everyone parts on the greatest of terms and say glowing things about the relationship. Then, you get bad goodbyes, where everyone saves their final, hurtful parting shots for the final salvo of bile, then circles their wagonload of close associates near to hear them say, 'yeah; you're right, they suck bilge.'
So, why can't people who don't see eye-to-eye and don't want to be associated with each other just agree to disagree, say adios, and get on with life? I sometimes wonder what Ron Warhurst, Mark Wetmore and Chris Carmichael do - or did - when their athletes decide to work with another system, another coach, a different location, or go a different direction.
It used to irk me to have someone no longer train with me without providing a reason. Now, I think I'd rather have them not provide one, that way I can still consider them a friend. As an athlete, I tied so much of my self-image and self-esteem to how my training was progressing and how my racing was going. Not much changes when you move over to the other side of the track; now I tie so much of what I am into what I think is good training for an athlete at a particular point in time. Disagreeing with me doesn't make me feel like I'm being personally attacked as much as it used to; a good solid reason for the disagreement might even make me think twice about what I believe...and adapt accordingly.
It hurts, though, to be blamed for everything that is going wrong in the perception of a single athlete. While I can look at it and say, 'consider the source, it's a disgruntled former athlete,' I guess it takes a while to develop a nice, thick skin.
In the meantime, I guess I'll find a Teflon warm-up suit and some Kevlar shorts. I've got a dozen others who depend on me to do the coach thing; guess I cannot stop at this moment to over-analyze the whole sordid situation. As I tell everyone else what the Maori say, I'll have to:
Kia Kaha. Stand Strong.