Coach Schueckler's Retirement Gift

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Typically it's trite to say someone is synonymous with something, but Norm Schueckler truly is synonymous with HF-L Swimming. And, after a long and storied career, he has decide to step down.

I was a bit sad the first time I heard this, but only because it means the end of an era. Another word that's appropriate when you've coached for 30+ years. When you excel at things it can be tough to say it's time to move on and even harder still to have people let you go.  My kids watch a movie called "Home" and in it a character says he is "glad-sad." That's pretty much encapsulates how I feel about Norm's retirement - happy for Coach, that he's decided it's time, but a little bit sad that all things have to change eventually.

Over the years on Saturday mornings, it has brought a smile to my face time-to-time thinking about Coach yelling at the next generation of swimmers for being late, (hopefully they were smart and softened the blow by bringing donuts). Kids doing polar bear runs, wheelie boards, and camachos.  Arm's being thrown up in the air and kickboards being thrown across the pool. Cannonball's off the blocks and "foreign exchange students" from opposing teams that were going to make the upcoming meet a close one. The amazing times I had, that others were now living. It all made me a little sad and happy at the same time.

But really, there's no reason to be sad at all. The impact Norm has made on so many people is easy to see and that's really all that matters. A Facebook page that his daughter (also an HF-L swimmer) started, to come up with ideas way to send him off the right way amassed more than 150 followers in less than 24 hours.

This is a big deal and people want to do something.

It struck me and I started to think about all those people. The swimmers, all the kids who Bernie didn't get to first. All those athletes. All the ones, more like me, who started out anything but athletes, and then learned that maybe they could be. The ones who started to believe and then made it happen with hard work and dedication. The ones that had it within them - they just needed to go get it.  They needed a Coach, someone to show them the way. Someone to teach them, motivate them,  get them fired up. Someone that could get them to achieve things that they probably didn't think they had in them, and, oh yeah, also have a ton fun doing it. How many?

Hundreds? More than a thousand? A lot. A whole lot.

I then thought, sheesh, that guy deserves something. Norm deserves something. Something nice. Something that he can keep and look at and know that a whole lot of swimmers, athletes, parents and people appreciate what he did, and the way he did it, for such a very, very long time.

Too bad it will never happen, I thought - people don't do stuff like that any more. It's old school. 

Except, maybe they would and maybe it could.

Since he has trained so many, if a bunch of us Cougars chipped in, whatever we wanted ($5, $10, $20, $100 whatever felt right to them), we could get him something really nice. Something that would be a token for the tens of thousands of hours spent inhaling bromine, throwing kickboards, bending rules and making a positive impact on swimmers. Hours spent changing lives.

I have a watch in my head. A nice one. Hopefully a really nice one. Engraved for his years of service, something like:

"HF-L Swimming - A winning tradition."
From your teams - all of them.

Let's make it happen. We have about 20 days. Let's send him off in style. He deserves it. He's earned it.

Let's do something cool for Norm.

Craig Troskosky (Messy Marvin) '93


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Organizer and beneficiary

Craig Troskosky 
Pittsford, NY
Erin Bailey 
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