Sterling silver unisex pendant includes black adjustable cotton cord.

THE POWER OF THE NECKLACE

Every day as coaches, we face many decisions that affect our team. We need to deal with everything from what to do at practice to how we motivate our athletes for the next event. My particular sport is cross-country/track, and with 30 years of experience it’s safe to say, “I have tried it all!” Over the past four years I have been blessed with a group of young men who know what hard work is all about. Ever since this group arrived in 2005 as young freshman at Hidden Valley High School I knew things were going to change. These boys had talent, worked hard and showed great potential. Over the next three years we competed as a team in the state cross-country meet. The Mustangs were favored to win a top four trophy each of those three years —however, as fate would have it, we came home to Grants Pass empty-handed every time. As a coach I was quite frustrated and disappointed in my lack of ability to mentally and emotionally prepare my team for the biggest meet in the state of Oregon. I learned a long time ago that you can’t rely on talent alone to get to the top.

Things changed in the Spring of 2008, just when school was closing its doors for the summer and the guys were preparing for a final summer of cross-country—they would be entering school in the fall as seniors. I was fortunate enough to visit a close friend of mine who couldn’t wait to show me a necklace that would (in her opinion) motivate and inspire my team enough to not only earn a trophy at the 2008 state meet but to win the team title! She and I met with Linda Prefontaine, who designed the sterling silver necklace that said “Love to Run” and on the other side stated “Inspired by Pre.” Pre, of course, was Oregon’s most famous distance runner who ran with heart and soul which made running special and like an art form. I immediately purchased a necklace for each of my runners. From the very first day of summer training the guys’ attitudes changed after receiving the necklace. They were totally inspired by it and a team rule was quickly established—the necklace never comes off. Motivated by the necklace and inspired by Pre, the guys became united and the word quickly spread. Hidden Valley and the necklace was a feature story in the Oregonian newspaper and a future article will be published in the April edition of the Colorado magazine Running Times. The necklace was the key ingredient for the success of this team and the rest is history. We won district and brought home the school’s first ever state championship trophy in cross-country. Four of our runners finished in the top 11 and our team score of 37 was the second lowest in the history of 4A boys cross-country.

No famous speech by the coach, no fear of early season peaking, the necklace did everything it stood for as the following quotes sum up.
“I will never forget that moment I placed the necklace around my neck…it gave me an enormous amount of strength and pride which will never fade away.”
“Our necklace has become the symbol of our dedication and unity. We have abandoned our past tendencies of personal interest and became a team.”
“One man alone is merely a man, a team of many men is a powerful force. We are banded by the run and the necklaces remind us of what we stand for….Team”!!!!!

Stan Goodell/ Head CC Coach/Hidden Valley HS