Running For Your Life

“My Mom & Dad Told Me There’ll Be Days Like These….The Hate is REAL!”

“My Mom & Dad told me there’ll be days like these….the hate is REAL!”

Advice For The Snot Nosed Kid

I remember when I was a young 5-7 year old snot nosed kid my parents sat me down on the porch one day when I was playing with my “friends” outside. There was this kid on our street who didn’t seem to be interested in playing too much as he sat on the side and just stared. I remember him usually staring at me with an unfriendly look but I didn’t pay him no mind as I was too busy playing and having fun. My parents told me this; “Randy….you are a friendly kid….you get a along with everyone…you’re doing great in school and also you are a great athlete. Some people will not be happy for you with these great things about yourself. Some people will actually be mad that you are successful. For whatever reason some people are just not happy with themselves and don’t like to see other people happy or successful”. I was half listening to my parents as I wanted to continue playing but I knew they were serious with this talk. I remember going back to play after my parents spoke and that same kid on the side was still not playing but steadily staring in my direction.

Running For Your Life – The Company (RFYL)

I am very lucky and blessed to be in the position that I am. I am a Professional Coach in my 39th month since the inception of my company and things are going extremely well. I have worked hard to get to where I am and many people to thank who have supported my vision and business model. To put it simply, my philosophy in Coaching is one thing and one thing only; “Athletes First”. I put the athlete’s success before anything else in what I do. My first question that I ask myself when I approach any training scenario is “what will be best for the athlete?” The athlete is the “life blood” of the RFYL brand. Due to this simple but apparently foreign concept in many other “Sporting Circles” people are noticing rather  quickly the differences between the brand of business and lifestyle at Running For Your Life versus the brand of business of other Coaches or Companies. 

Athletes Compete & Guess What?!?…So Do Coaches & Their Companies!

As an athlete I had tremendous success and enjoyed winning. I enjoyed being around winners. I enjoyed the competition and the energy it brought . Whether losing or winning it brought the best out of me and my team mates and I wanted to create a similar environment with RFYL. 

Ultimately I wanted to build a company that inspired athletes to believe in themselves and to never limit their ambitions on and off the playing field. Currently 85% of my client base are kids ranging in age from 5 – 21 and the remaining 15% are adults. I approach every client the same way encouraging them to exceed their potential. That makes everyone a winner in my book. If you are able to exceed your potential, than you will be successful in anything you do, because “human potential is unmeasurable”. I take my own advice that I give my athletes with RFYL. Let me be very crystal clear when I say I want to be the Best Coach with the Best Company available in the market place.  Why try to be second when I can try to be first? Whether I become the  “best” or not, I most certainly will be exceeding my potential with this simple approach to the call of action. To conclude I manage my business the same way I competed as an athlete; all actions are for one thing only…try and be the best in all you do.

To My Competition…I am Trying To Beat You… So Don’t Be Mad!

To be successful in my industry, you gotta have clients who are happy and successful. It’s a pretty simple concept. RFYL has several branded Athletic Programs but the one I am focusing on with this blog is Track & Field and Cross Country. The first day that my Track and Field Club started we had about 15-18 Athletes show up. That was 39 months ago. Since than our Track and Field & Cross Country Program has close to 160 Athletes and we have opened up 2 new training locations. We have had massive growth and more importantly we have had tremendous success within the first 38 months of business. So much success that people are beginning to notice. Just like in the NBA, The Work Force, The NHL, MLB or any other competitive market place,  people are constantly looking to better themselves. For whatever reason people change teams and people change jobs as they see opportunities to better themselves. The same goes for Track And Field & Cross Country Clubs. Athletes switch clubs all the time. Since we have started we have had the same experience like any other entity in a competitive market place. We have had athletes come to us from various Track & Field & Cross Country Clubs. The following clubs listed below has had athletes transfer to us:

– Etobicoke Huskie Striders

– The Flying Angels

– The Speed Academy

– Mississauga Olympians

– DLA

– Durham Dragons

– Project Athletics

– United Tamil Track & Field Club

This isn’t in anyway saying that my club is better than these above clubs at all. To be honest I do think our club is the best but hey that is my opinion and I’m sure the above clubs feel the same way about their club.  The reality is parents and athletes have contacted our club and we spoke to the new prospects. We never initiate any “recruiting” if an athlete is with another club. If a parent or athlete call we tell them if you’re interested to join us make sure you tell your current club/coach your intentions before you decide to switch. I give that club a chance to save their athlete just out of respect for my competition. I even have called some of these club coaches myself and let them know “you have parents calling me saying they want to leave your club to come to my club”. I give these coaches the first opportunity to resolve and rectify what’s happening in their club. If they switch to us after all of those potential “saves from the other club”  I am certainly happy about it. I won’t lie about that. Why wouldn’t I be happy? 

My Club Coaches and myself get an opportunity to challenge our Club’s training philosophy to get that athlete better so they are happy with the decision they have made. All the athletes who have transferred to us have improved their performance except one who we inherited with an injury. That same athlete will improve this upcoming season as she is no longer hurt. Don’t get me wrong. I have lost 4 athletes to other clubs since I started RFYL. It’s the nature of the business that we are in. Please note that these 4 athletes have NOT improved at all since they left our club…..just saying!

The “Boy” Who Was Staring At Me As A Kid is Now An Adult…..the Story Continues!

You Aren’t Allowed to Congratulate Athletes At a Meet Coach Randy

In the fall of 2013 at Lake Ridge Ski Loft, I was supporting my athletes as I always do at their School Meets. I’m the type of Coach who loves to see all athletes prosper and be successful whether they are trained by me or not. There were some amazing performances from a few kids at this meet and so I took the time to congratulate them after their race. Some of them I knew from local meets and others I did not. While I was there talking to some of my athletes and their parents during a break in the day, a man came up to me without introducing himself and stated the following; “It’s unethical to be recruiting athletes”.  I was dumbfounded as well as the parents around me.  I turned to the man and asked him “what are you talking about and who are you?”  With no further response the man who accused me of “recruiting” athletes while I was actually congratulating them walked away.  I did my research to find out who was this angered man accusing me of recruiting athletes while I was simply saying congratulations to those who had great performances on this day. I can only surmise that apparently I had not read the “Rules and Policies of Communication as a Coach” as I would have realized how absurd it is to congratulate athletes and celebrate their accomplishments at meets. SILLY ME!  I was able to determine that this man’s daughter is Athlete 1 who is a member of the Durham Dragons. I don’t know his first name so let’s just call him Parent 1. Parent 1 saw me in 2013 as a “threat” to his daughter’s club as I congratulated some athletes that apparently were in The Durham Dragon’s Club unbeknownst to me.   He thought my friendly appreciation of great performances was me in fact trying to recruit. Well I must say, now sitting here 3 years later, Parent 1 was a “visionary”.  He was in fact right to being fearful of my presence at the meet in regards to his beloved Durham Dragon’s Club even though I was simply coaching my own athletes and nothing more. He certainly saw what the near future would soon look like.

You Aren’t Allowed to Earn Income and Be a Professional Coach

During the Abilities Centre fiasco in Whitby (Summer & Fall of 2015) where the Abilities Centre Staff essentially kicked out all the Track & Field Clubs from their Venue, I tried to reach out to all the Clubs who utilized the venue as their indoor training home. I thought it would be smart for us clubs to get together and demonstrate a unified stance and approach to the Abilities Centre’s ridiculous request to have all The Track and Field Clubs removed. I must say that The Speed Academy demonstrated the want and need to work together and we met and communicated several times to fight the Abilities Centre ridiculous eviction. I had also contacted Dale – the Head Coach of The Durham Dragons in order to also partner up with him to present a unified front in the fight against this unfair eviction.  Dale didn’t mind working together and agreed that the eviction was uncalled for.  However, he did state to me that perhaps they didn’t want my club and company there as a I was operating a for profit business within their facility with no permission. At the time I found his answer very strange. First off, why point out that I am operating a for profit business???  Of course I am operating a for profit business!!  It’s called providing food, clothes and shelter for my family. The second point which I found strange was that he claimed I was operating my business in the The Abilities Centre without their permission. All my members were paying Abilities Centre members and I had been training my members there for over a year at that point. I would think that if we had no permission to be there after our first 5 minutes of training there, the Abilities Centre staff would have told us that we cannot train there and to leave immediately. Dale never did respond back nor did he join forces with us to fight the Abilities Centre even though some of his Athletes’ parents had mentioned to me that they were surprised he was not taking a more active role in this situation.

It’s Your Fault That Your Athletes Got Kicked Off Their High School Team Coach Randy

In the Spring of 2015, I formed an alliance via providing my services as an Assistant Coach with All Saints CSS in Whitby as many of my club athletes were there at the school and I wanted to make sure they were taken care of and not have any issues for training and competing. It was a great relationship and the All Saints Team did really well in the 2015 OFSAA Championships. Fast forward to the Spring of 2016 season again I offered my services to All Saints CSS to help the team while at the same time ensuring my Club Athletes were taken care of in their quest to qualify for OFSAA. Some of my athletes were having issues attending practice and their Coach Mr. Crawford was not very happy about that. He warned the athletes as he should and I did too. I actually told my All Saints Club Athletes in late March 2016 to ensure they go to practice to satisfy the OFSAA Practice Requirements. Unfortunately further discrepancies of practicing occurred and several of the Track and Field members of the All Saints team including my Club athletes were in fact kicked off the team. I found this end result to be on the really extreme side of things and so did their parents. Eventually one of the parent’s filed a human rights complaint via the Ontario Court System and the complaint has been taken up and now All Saints CSS is under investigation via the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. It’s an unfortunate situation that could’ve been easily avoided however this was not to be the case. I have been told from the parents and students that I am being blamed by All Saints CSS for the kids being kicked off the team which is just absolutely absurd. 

You Can’t Have Your Athlete’s “Back” Coach Randy

One of my athletes from Donald A Wilson was kicked off his high school team in the spring of 2016 for similar claims from the school of not practicing enough. It was also a ridiculous decision. The athlete in question – Daiten, actually came back to school for a 5th year to essentially compete for his High School Track and Field Team. This incident really negatively impacted Daiten and his chances to get a scholarship to better his education. Of course I wanted to try and resolve the issue. Daiten’s mom and myself went into the school directly to speak to his high school track and field coach and the powers that be to reverse the decision but no one was willing to reconsider. I emailed several people about this issue detailing how senseless this decision was. I emailed several LOSSA contacts, teachers, media and OFSAA Coordinators but the answer was always the same. In the end, it was Daiten’s Track and Field Coach – Jennifer Webb who was the only person to be able to reverse the decision. This amazing Student Counsellor by day denied Daiten’s reassignment to his Track and Field team.  It still astonishes me to this day that a Guidance Counsellor neglected to see the greater impact that this type of decision had on a young man’s future.  I thank God that Daiten was still able to obtain a Track and Field Scholarship in the State Of Iowa so all wasn’t lost for this hard working student athlete.

Take Down Your Tent Coach Randy And Don’t Recruit Any Athletes As It’s Illegal

The latest “Love” I’ve been shown was last week at the 2016 LOSSA Cross Country Championships at Dagmar Ski Resort in Uxbridge. Again, I essentially go to all of my athletes meets including their school meets. I support them and help them get ready to compete. They enjoy my presence along with my coaches’ presence at these meets and so do their parents. It’s a support system that has worked very well for these athletes as they seem to flourish in this supportive environment. While setting up our warm up area at LOSSA so the kids can be prepared for their races, I heard my name being called. I turned around and saw a Notre Dame Coach whom I’m not 100% sure his name is and Michel Pichette who is a Coach and Gym Teacher at Saint-Charles-Garnier High School in Whitby. They inquired as to what school I was there to represent. I just looked at them thinking in my head “they know I am not a High School teacher so where are they going with this?” They asked again about what school I was with and I proceeded to asked them if there is a problem. They advised me that I was not allowed to recruit athletes at LOSSA. Michel Pichette also stated that he saw me handing out flyers at the Durham Catholic Elementary School Cross Country Championships and that this was not allowed at the LOSSA meet. I replied to him that I was not handing out flyers as the event the flyers were for had already passed but I was present at LOSSA to support my athletes. He wished good luck to my athletes and that was it. After careful consideration, I realized that these teachers seemed annoyed at my presence. It was interesting to me that they had said that I was not allowed to recruit athletes at the LOSSA meet. I wondered what does me telling athletes or parents about positive opportunities with what I can offer them have to do with these two teachers? If I was recruiting athletes into a Terrorist Group I would absolutely understand their concern. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want athletes to know about our great company and the amazing programs we have available.  Given their line of questioning, I did anticipate that the situation would not be over and I thought there may be a chance that these teachers were going to give me further problems. I was correct in my assumptions.  30mins later Michel Pichette came up to me again while I was with my 8 or so athletes from various LOSSA Schools under my RFYL tent. He proceeded to ask me for the 3rd time what school I was with at the meet. At this point I thought Michel must have a bad memory as we had just spoke about this 30 mins ago. Maybe Michel Pichette had extra time on his hands and wanted to make sure I was having a great experience at LOSSA. I was confused why he was taking time out of his busy day to talk to me about what school I was with at the meet. He continued to ask about what school I was with and I advised him that there were several schools being represented  under my tent.  Michel Pichette than said I had to take down my tent as my company branding was on it and I was therefore advertising my business. I than proceeded to ask him if I would also have to take off my clothes which also had my company branding. Michel Pichette’s face immediately told me he was upset. I could hear my athletes laughing at this ridiculous situation. Michel Pichette threatened that if I did not take down my tent I would be removed from LOSSA. I did ask him for a second time if I had to take off my clothes with my company branding and he walked away.

I don’t understand why those 2 teachers or anyone at the meet is concerned with me being there. It seemed to me they were trying to make my experience at the meet a distasteful one. My experience at this meet was actually an amazing other than the distractions the teachers attempted to cause. My athletes competed well, qualified for OFSAA and everyone was happy. I take great pleasure in the fact that a young boy came up to me while at LOSSA and asked if he could have my card as he saw the great job we are doing with the Athletes supporting them at school meets. He thought it was cool that I and my other coaches are at the school meets helping out the athletes in our club. I agree that it’s cool to support kids in their endeavours. Again not too sure why the teachers had a problem with me being there. 

In Conclusion

I do sense a lot of hate from my competitors and some of the teachers with the exponential growth of Running For Your Life. Not sure why they even care about what we do or not do especially since what we only do is provide positive experiences for our members. I believe their imagination is creating a negative outlook of my actual actions.  By being present at their meets, I must therefore be “advertising”. What they don’t see is that I am there coaching my athletes so they can be best prepared at their meet. They don’t see the tears of joy from the athletes or their parents when the athletes achieve great performances. They don’t see the texts or emails from the parents saying how their child is no longer depressed or having anxiety issues or failing in school as they have found new confidence and success in a sport that they enjoy and these successes are impacting other parts of their life in a positive way. Ultimately these people probably think when they see me at meets that I am there trying to make money or something like that. I am only guessing. Again what’s relevant is the success of the Athlete. That is what this is all about. It’s not about me and it’s not about anyone else but really the success of these athletes who we build our efforts around to get them in progressive positions. I couldn’t care less on what they do and don’t do because I am happy and my athletes are happy and my athlete’s parents are happy. I just remember the conversation from my parents of that kid who wasn’t happy and was just staring at me with his disdained look. When I think of him I see the faces of these negative people. I am glad my parents let me know there would be days like this with people not being happy with the success of a positive thing.

 

From breaking provincial and national records in Ontario and Canada, to holding 4 different youth world records as a sprinter, Randy has enjoyed great success as a young Track & Field athlete. Recruited from several universities across North America including Notre Dame, TCU, Harvard, the University of Toronto and UCLA, Randy signed a 5 year athletic scholarship with UCLA and joined one of the greatest academic and athletic universities in the world. Randy was coached by John Smith, arguably one of the greatest sprint coaches in history and had the privilege to train and work with Trinidadian Ato Boldon (Olympic 100m Silver medalist and World 200m Champion), American Maurice Greene (previous 100m World Record Holder and Gold Medalist Olympian) and French star Marie-José Pérec (200m & 400m Olympic Gold Medalist) among others. Competing successfully at a high level coupled with years of sports training know how has made the transition of star athlete to high level sports performance coach rather seamless for Randy Brookes. Coach Randy Brookes is a certified sprint coach and is ready to share his wealth of knowledge to athletes looking to enhance their performance and reach their next level.