August 24th, 2017

Hyland's Heroes: Tim Napier

Staff Report


Hyland's Heroes: Tim Napier
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The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. If you have a suggestion for Hyland’s Heroes, feel free to email Conor Revell (crevell@catholicsportsnet.com).

Tim Napier is this week’s Hyland’s Insurance Hero and is the head cross country coach at Our Lady of Lourdes.

I volunteered to be the assistant cross country coach at OLOL in 2012, when my oldest child was a third grader. A fellow parishioner, Doug Korfhage, had been very successfully coaching the entire team by himself (which still amazes me). I helped Doug that season, and we were fortunate to convince another parent, Beth Warren, to join us. When Doug’s children were no longer running, he passed the baton to Beth and me. Since 2014, we’ve grown the team to almost 100 runners, and eight coaches.

What’s the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?

Our Lady of Lourdes is passionate about stewardship. Everyone commits to share their time, talent and treasure. My day job keeps me very busy. When I rush from the office and meet the other volunteer coaches at practice (who have done the same thing), it’s humbling. These are people who are living their call by loving and serving their neighbors. I feel fortunate to be included.

Who was the most influential person on your volunteer career? Why?

When my wife and I joined OLOL, Father Nick Rice was the pastor. (Father Nick is the founder of Mass of the Air.) He is a kind man, but he speaks to you directly and doesn’t mince words. He told our small group of new parishioners that it would not be enough to simply attend mass – the parish had plenty of people to fill the pews. He expected our active involvement. Over time, I grew to appreciate that he truly walked the walk. As parish schools around us made the difficult decision to move from a stewardship to a tuition model, he refused to budge. He forced the parish to really consider just how committed we were to our stewardship. That was several years ago, and we remain a stewardship school today under the leadership of Father Scott Wimsett.

What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?

I feel strongly that in youth sports, the real measure of success is not winning. It’s whether you inspire a child to continue to participate. Running is hard. If you can make a child smile through the sweat and tears of a hot cross country practice, and come back for the next one, that’s a great accomplishment. If you can instill some positive values along the way, that’s even better. After a prayer and a cheer to end our practices, we do one of two things. Sometimes we have the children shake hands with the coaches to show their appreciation for the adults who volunteered their time that evening. Other times we have the children shake hands with each other to show their appreciation for the teammates who are pushing them to become better runners.   

What does your role bring your family?

My volunteer efforts pale in comparison to my wife’s! She is the true steward in our family. We have two middle school sons and a daughter in the fifth grade. All three are on the team. They see the work that my wife, the other coaches and I have to do in order to make the season happen for them. In our house, they know that grumbling about going to practice will fall on deaf ears. I also realize that it’s a blessing to have several scheduled hours each week with my children during cross country season.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?

At OLOL, there’s a school assignment where one of the grades writes a paper about someone who has helped them. The papers hang in the hallway. Over the years, I’ve received a few pictures of papers that were about me. Surprisingly, they’re usually not from the top runners on the team or even from the runners I would have expected to write them. They’re from boys and girls who quietly run in the middle of the pack at practice. It’s very humbling, and makes me appreciate the awesome responsibility that goes with coaching youth sports.  

 

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