Well, it has been nearly 5 years and Peoria Inner City Track Club (PICTFC) is making waves and having its effect on track and field athletes all over the city.
So far, we have managed to provide additional training for 2 local graduates, now collegiate athletes, pursing their continued track careers in addition to their education, and are competing at very high levels. We have 1 current high school senior performing at the top of state performance lists in his events, and a host of young athletes that have been a part of our training, coming up through their school's respective systems and having very good success.
In fact, although I am an Assistant Coach with the Peoria Manual Running Rams track team, (which is having an exceptional year and is the #1 team in Peoria again for the first time in many years) I almost cannot go to a local meet without seeing an athlete that PICTFC has had a hand in training or developing at least in some part of their career.
THAT is exactly what we want...A rising tide raises ALL boats!
Please allow me to backtrack somewhat...
PICTFC began some 5 to 6 years ago because of 2 things...
1- My Son, HJB III...(I'll talk more about him in a minute)
2- My desire to reconnect with High School (HS) and Grade School (GS) athletics and in particularly track & field athletics.
My Son, HJB3...
I am so proud of him (pictured right) I almost don't know what to do. He finished the 2015 Indoor season ranked in the top 10 in the Indoor 60M making it to the State finals. He is currently ranked in the top 20 in the state class 2A division in the outdoor 100M, ranked in the Peoria Journal Star Honor Roll in the 100M, and anchor's Manual's 4x100M and 4x200M relay which are also on the Journal Star Honor Roll. As of this writing he is undefeated in every 100M race and prelim in his event and runs a better time almost every competition. So he is becoming quite a formidable opponent when he lines up to give it a go.
This kid suffered though...He had a broken leg his sophomore year, and a recovery year his JR year in which he continued to listen to me (of all people) and work toward being a better athlete once he was released from his doctor's care. He had every reason to quit, nearly lost his confidence, but continued to do as I asked him, both during the summer and the regular season...
Now he is reaping the benefits of continuing towards his path of success.
With multiple college offers and letters, it won't be long before HJB3 is on his way and believe me, I will certainly miss him!!!!
Then There's Me...
Some of you already know that I am a staunch community advocate and one that strives to make our community a better place to live. From the spiritual community (pastoring nearly 20 years), standing against crime and violence and for safety in our streets for nearly 10 years, to the educational community (a school employee and coach nearly 2 years) I do what is necessary to help...I am not simply talking 'bout it...I AM 'bout it!
Long days but much reward...In HS I was a standout athlete for Peoria Central High, running a 10.68 in my last race as a SR in the state semifinals; although I was injured, I lost to the person who set the state record at that time, 10.3, J. Spencer Cotten who was one of the best track athletes ever in Illinois HS history. What a race!
Well, all of that knowledge and what I did and went through to make it to that level, never left me...In fact, my son was the motivating factor to get out and share what I knew...Then, after looking at how Peoria, has been so basketball minded that it forgot about the root sport of all athletics...track & field...I had to get back in and try to reverse the trend and make a difference....
Now, Peoria Central is getting a new track & field facility...Later, if we can ever get some money from the state to help us, Richwoods, and Manual will both receive a well deserved face-lift of their athletic and track & field facilities and I believe that is essential to the continued growth of the sport within this community.
Most of all there's the human factor...ya see, since I have opened this club, I am proud to say I have coached athletes from not only Peoria, but also from Pekin, and Bushnell. These young people are the jewels in my crown (if I have one) anyway, they are the reason that I and PICTFC exist and must continue...
Kids Need A Chance
THESE kids and others simply need a chance. A chance to grow and continue to strive and reach towards their goals. They need a chance to learn what I learned and passed on to my son...No matter what life brings, you CAN pick yourself up, and continue and the latter shall be greater than the former!!!!
I recently heard a saying that goes:
"You can't finish until you begin!"
Well, that is it. I say let's begin something that WE can all be proud of. Let's begin to place our time, effort and energy into creating the best possible environments and opportunities for our children. If we don't, who will? If we can't gather the courage to do something, where will the courage come from? If we can't harness the concern to assure a solid and sound future for our kids, then who will be concerned?
That is what this club is all about, helping our kids begin something that may one day, not only change their lives, but change and enhance ALL of our lives.
Welcome to the Peoria Inner City Track & Field Club. We've been waiting, just for you!