A Father's Day Story about an athlete Kelcey Bedard and her dad Coach Bedard.
Have you ever asked yourself, why you compete in track? Did you just decide to become an athlete; were you encouraged to join by a coach or a friend; or were you born into it - following the footsteps of a parent? This is a Father’s Day story about love, encouragement, and a special bond between a father and daughter. Meet collegiate athlete Kelcey Bedard. She was not only destined to be a track athlete from birth, but her father, Brian Bedard, is a Colorado State University (CSU) Hall of Fame track and field head coach, and has led the team to 11 Mountain West Championships in his 13 years of coaching there.
Kelcey and her dad have a very special relationship because they get to see each other and interact not only as father/daughter but from the perspective of coach/athlete. Being her father gives Coach Bedard the ultimate advantage as her coach. He understands Kelcey as an athlete, a daughter, and, most importantly, as a person. Throughout the years, Coach Bedard was able to use this knowledge to help develop Kelcey into the best discus and hammer thrower possible. In fact, this year Kelcey earned the First place title at the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the hammer throw, and Second place in the discus throw.
“He (my dad) gets me and how I work as an athlete, and as a human because he has been around me my whole life,” Kelcey told Youth Runner Magazine.
Although Kelcey and her father have an amazing coach/athlete relationship now, it was not always that way. Kelcey, like many other high school athletes, decided to keep her father/daughter relationship separate from her athletics, not wanting to hear feedback about her performance from her father. She never wanted to see her dad from the perspective of an athlete.
However, Coach Bedard had a different plan. “I would send her a recruiting email with her sitting in the next room inviting her to visit our campus to see what we had to offer,” said Coach Bedard. He treated her like every other athlete that he was trying to get to join the team. Coach Bedard is also a former CSU discus thrower, so when he started recruiting her, she wasn’t surprised. Kelcey is a discus and hammer thrower, just like her dad, and when she was deciding on colleges, she knew that attending CSU was a possibility. Ultimately, she decided that it was the place for her.
Attending CSU was one of the best choices Kelcey could have made. She describes her dad as a role model that inspires her to be a better and stronger athlete. “The way that he connects with his athletes is something that is very unique and special…and I find that to be really inspiring,” she said. Kelcey believes her father’s passion for the sport is what encourages her to work hard every time she steps onto the track.
According to Coach Bedard, “[It’s] been exciting for me as her coach. Kelcey has had some jaw dropping performances that have really shocked me, and brought me to tears.” Kelcey’s strengths as an athlete and everything she has accomplished makes her father very proud. This bond gives him a unique opportunity to view his daughter from not only a father’s perspective, but a coach’s as well, making him incredibly proud of her.
Coach Bedard and Kelcey’s bond is unique in its own ways; they get to spend time together at home, as father and daughter, and then they get to train as a coach and athlete. Coach Bedard offers advice to any parent who wants to coach their child, “Don’t force it. If it's meant to be it will work out.”
That is the attitude he adopted when training with Kelcey, and success has come from it. Their father/daughter and coach/athlete relationships have brought them closer, and made Kelcey a stronger athlete. She finishes out her college career with two Mountain West titles, second-team All-American last year in the hammer throw, and second-team All-American this year, after placing 11th in the discus at the NCAA championships.
“It's been an experience that I will never forget, with some of the best memories in my coaching career,” said Coach Bedard.
So, on this Father’s Day, this Sunday (in case you need a reminder), we not only celebrate Coach Bedard but all the dads, and other role models out there that love, support and help us all grow to be better people and athletes.
Happy Father’s Day!