A long over due collection of tribute pages to the individuals who accepted the challenge of educating us.
Mr. Larry Coyle
Mr. Coyle was one of those soft spoken types of people who could say something quietly in a room full of rambunctious kids which would reverberate forever in their minds. I am grateful for having known Larry Coyle and for being one of those kids who can fondly recollect one of those gentle talks he used to give which were packed with powerful meaning.
The one I am thinking about was the last time he spoke to one of my teams. He was scheduled to take a half year off to study in England. He gathered us around one last time after we had just slogged through a horrific downpour at the Eastern States Cross Country Championship in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The moment we stepped off the bus we were soaked. So was Larry Coyle and he had to both coach us and carry 15 sets of drenched sweat shirts and pants for the next hour. As a team we finished 3rd that year, partly because we showed up and partly because the seniors knew this was our last race for Larry.
Later on when we had returned back to RHS he brought us to a classroom to say farewell. He thanked us for our efforts and we thanked him for being our coach. There was one final thought he wanted to leave us with and it has stayed with me all these years. It probably meant more to those were in attendance that day than it does to a casual reader these forty years later. In any event, he told us to Dare to be good. The emphasis was on the word “Dare” and not on the final result. He knew we all couldn’t come in first, as an individual or as a team. Though we could always dare to try to be the best we might on any given day, and in any given situation. He was speaking to us for all times and about all the times we would be faced by challenges in the future.
All I have to do is mention these words to somebody who was in the room that day and their face with light up and a Larry Coyle story will soon begin. I feel that one definition of success in this world is to leave it a little better and maybe a bit happier. Larry Coyle was most definitely a success by this and any other standard for role models, teachers, coaches, and athletes.