The author, “Coach”, wishes to remain anonymous and wants to put the spotlight on Brittany
The following is a true story about two individuals who enjoy sports. The older of the two, we will refer to as “Coach” and the younger, Brittany Holmes is also known by Coach as “Frisky” and she lives in the Canton de Bedford.
Just before Christmas, 2018, the Coach had a stroke, which also lead to head trauma, and a stay at the BMP Hospital. After his discharge and more tests being done, it was discovered that some of his arteries were prohibiting blood from reaching his heart. In January 2019, an additional 3 stents were inserted, resulting in a total of 6 stents from prior surgery. The stents were inserted on a Friday and on the following Monday morning, January 21, 2019 he had a massive heart attack. As of now he has 7 stents. In addition to his heart attack, he had already been dealing with a herniated disc in his neck which occurred in March 2017 and severely limited his activities and work.
A good friend could see that all Coach was doing was watching television and sleeping. One day this friend asked him if he would consider teaching her 13-year-old daughter how to swim. On the last Wednesday night of March, Coach and Frisky headed to the indoor swimming pool in Cowansville. Frisky, thought at first that the building which housed the pool was an apartment block. The pool was available from 18h30 to 20h00 on Wednesday evenings. One big problem arose because Coach, as a result of his stroke had forgotten how to swim. With the help of the lifeguards, it quickly came back to him.
By going swimming each Wednesday, Brittany was encouraged to try harder at some of her weaker subjects where she attended Butler Elementary School. Not only did Frisky’s weaker subjects improve at school ; her swimming was becoming stronger and consistent. At the beginning of June, Brittany was swimming laps in the pool by herself, even though she was swallowing water.
One evening, Coach asked Brittany how well she could ride a bicycle. They talked it over and decided to enter Brittany in a Triathlon competition. A Triathlon consists of a swim in a lake, followed by a bicycle ride and finishing with a road race (run). At the beginning of June, Brittany rode a bicycle with hand gears and hand brakes for the first time ever. Her mother would only permit her to run and ride up and down their gravel driveway – approximately 50 meters long. She was not allowed to run or ride her bike off their property.
Once again, Coach had to learn how to ride a bicycle as he had no balance and kept falling off but kept trying on the lawn. The falls did not hurt too much. They began to ride their bicycles on the back roads so she could become accustomed when vehicles would pass her or when meeting vehicles. Frisky was quick to learn how to shift the bicycle gears as well as the hand brakes. After school she would continue running and biking back and forth on the gravel driveway at home.
Numerous classmates at Butler School laughed at her when they heard that she was training for a triathlon. Most told her that she could not finish one. With comments like these, Brittany tried harder at her limited training.
They borrowed a somewhat better bicycle and Frisky’s swimming was becoming better with technique and her determination.
Coach has a son-in-law who was registered for a Triathlon at the end of June, so Brittany and Coach went to support and cheer him on. This was the first triathlon Frisky had seen and her eyes were as large as small plates ! She could not believe all the action and hustle happening all at the same time. The location at Branbury State Park next to Lake Dunmore approximately 20 miles (32 Kilometers) south of Middlebury, Vermont.
Once school finished, it was difficult finding time to practice as Brittany who had turned 14 was now working long shifts at Tim Horton’s in Cowansville. As summer progressed, the two of them began swimming in Lac Davignon, in Cowansville. The water was warm enough, and they could swim longer distances in open water.
On the morning of August 11, 2019 while riding down to the Triathlon, Brittany did not talk at all…her mother Joan did all the talking as Frisky was nervous and apprehensive now that the Big Day had arrived.
Following the announcer’s instructions, all the competitors headed down to the lake to wait for the beginning of their age group. Brittany was still standing at the edge of the lake while her group left. Her mother literally had to push her to get going. Brittany’s nervous system had taken over and she was not at all sure about beginning the 1000 metre swim in open water with 150 other swimmers.
Once Frisky began her swim, she began passing other swimmers as she is a natural swimmer even though she started at 13 years of age. As she was completing her swim, she was not even breathing heavily. She began the bike segment but was so excited she forgot to buckle her helmet. As she was completing the bicycle ride, an elder lady backed her car into the bicycle path and hit four cyclists. Brittany was extremely lucky as only her knees got scraped. She is extremely gritty and quitting the Triathlon never entered her mind.
The 5-kilometer run for Frisky was easy as she was always running against the boys at school. She finished her first ever Triathlon competition with a great big smile on her face. A few weeks prior to the competition, Frisky and Coach had a verbal bet. Brittany said that her mother Joan (Brittany was adopted as a young child) would not cry with joy. Coach said the opposite. If Joan had tears in her eyes Frisky had to paint his two big toenails blue. If Joan did not cry for joy, Coach would then have to wash all ten of Brittany’s toes. As of now, Coach is still waiting for the two toenails to be painted blue.
Brittany “Frisky” Holmes has a great personality and character and is always ready with a quick smile. Taking into consideration not being able to swim properly to completing a tough triathlon in 4-1/2 months is a great achievement and unbelievable ! After reading this article, it’s obvious that Frisky will become an inspiration for all.
Congratulations Brittany “Frisky” Holmes and please keep up your studies !
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