This first blog post is dedicated to one of my former coaches and forever friend Amy Fogle. Thank you for taking part in raising me. Thank you for carving out months of time to invest in me. Thank you for continuing to support me and my endeavors to this day.
I’ve been feeling called to start writing for the better part of a year now, and what initiated this first blog post was the sudden passing of Kobe, his daughter Gigi, her fellow teammates and their parents. When I heard the news it stopped me in my tracks, as it hit a little too close to home. For those of you that are new to my page I’m from the small island town of Kodiak located in the Gulf of Alaska. I grew up a 3 sport athlete and my teammates and I would fly off island practically every weekend from 10 years old on to compete. The first people I thought of after hearing the tragic news were my coaches and teammates growing up. It didn’t feel real at first, then it hit me - this could have been us… I’ve been meaning to share this part of myself with you all for years, and January 26th, 2020 was a painful reminder that we are not promised tomorrow, so here goes nothing.
I wasn’t a natural scholar. I was very kind, however, and I had an unparalleled work ethic. I was in the “special” reading class, I had to work VERY hard to be an A/B student, and I have vivid memories every year thinking, “ALL of this went over my head I already asked my questions, and I still don’t understand.” So I’d go home with no idea how to do my homework, but I tried my best. But before you think this is a sob story in the making I’ll have you know I was also a very happy kid. I didn’t know I was in the slower reading group until years later. Maybe that goes to show how slow I really was or how special I felt getting to learn in my own private small group. Either way, my childhood was happy as fuck and am grateful to be born into the family I cherish today.
To give you a short history lesson, here’s the back story on Coach: Amy Fogle is a name that the entire state of Alaska knows. She was just inducted into the Alaska Hall of Fame for her undefeated ’01 season. I remember listening to the Kodiak boys team win that championship game on the radio when I was in the 5th grade. Leading up to that infamous win, the entire city of Kodiak would go to games - it was magic watching them play. Curtis Mortenson was a family friend, and one of the starters. Curtis went out of his way to have a shirt signed by everyone on the team to give to me. I hung it up on my wall, w/ all the newspaper clippings from the sports section of our small town 6 page paper. Every friend that came over that saw my room commented on my obsession. You may have had the Hansen Bro’s posters on your wall – but I had my homemade team signs with all my favorite players on mine.
I remember the first time Coach Fogle acknowledged I existed. I had just wrapped up a little dribblers game as a 6th grader, Coach was leaning against the wall and she asked if I was planning on trying out for the team next year when I would officially be a middle schooler. I said, “YES COACH.” Then went home feeling on top of the world. “Coach Fogle noticed me?!”
Fast forward to the end of my middle school career and Coach Fogle (who was my 8th grade health teacher at the time) asked me again, “Addie, are you and your friends planning on coming out for the team next year?” I eagerly replied with, “YES, COACH.” She had switched from coaching the boys to coaching the girl’s high school program, and I couldn’t be more in awe. I remember again thinking, “Oh no… I heard how intense those practices are… THAT’S what I’m trying out for next year?! Someone pray for me!”
I was warned she was the toughest coach of all time. The varsity boys would frequently run until they puked, and were expected to push through and keep sprinting, even if they had to hold a trash can while doing it. I was told if you can survive a Coach Fogle practice, a game was nothing. Literally nothing. You wouldn’t be tired at all – because she conditioned the SHIT out of you until you were a machine.
And all that was fucking true. I never worked so hard in my whole damn life. I remember thinking, “WOW. How did 21 hours go by so fast?? It’s time for ANOTHER. 3. HOUR. PRACTICE?! I fell asleep walking up the stairs at school one morning, and the two very cute boys behind me asked if I was ok. My body was so fatigued I just tripped up the stairs + didn’t know what was happening I was so tired. I remember turning around and barely mumbling like, “oh yeah, I’m good I just can’t propel my body forward anymore. I’m so sore and physically exhausted.” – I didn’t get asked out much in high school, but its cool.
My sophomore year I made the JV team, and was swinging up to varsity. I remember going to practice the day we received all of our Varsity gear thinking, “It’s Christmas! I can’t believe I’m here… on this team… receiving all of this stuff!?” Earning something that special will always be that – special.
Sophomore year was my favorite year for basketball. We had a killer Joe Floyd tournament (Alaska’s longest running tournament played in Kodiak, named after the Mayor who unfortunately, passed away February 22, 2020.) We didn’t go to state, but it was a year where I really felt coached, mentored, and a part of something bigger than me. It was a surreal experience.
Coach Fogle changed my life. She was only ever actually my coach for 2 years. But those two years drastically impacted who I am as a person today. I get more done in a day, I push harder, I dig deeper, because fuck – if I can surpass the physical limits I did with her – I 100% know I can achieve anything I decide to. I’ve had to dig painfully deep in my 20’s. There has been so much hurt, so much to not just get through, but overcome. If I didn’t have the work ethic she drilled into me, I genuinely don’t believe I would be the person I am today.
Want to know the best part? Coach sits in my chair now. She drives 2+ hours from Anacortes, WA to Seattle, and I fly across the country from Charleston, SC, so we can have our time behind the chair together. Getting to serve Amy and know her for the whole human she is, not just her as a coach, is a relationship I will cherish forever. I love you Amy. You have changed me and so many others for the better. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for you being hard on me, being honest with me, investing in me, and believing in me.
Thank you for taking months out of your life to coach me. Mentor me. Guide me. To love me.
I serve souls for a living now. I see the bigger picture more clearly. I see how important being a trusted councilor really is. As I grow in this next phase of my personal development, I continue to take inspiration from you to make it to the next level.
Thanks coach, I’ll see ya soon.