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Safe Haven

By: Nicholas Sparks

Friday, August 27, 2010

Moving On

For the past three years, I coached the Quincy Notre Dame Pom Pon Squad...the squad I was a member of for four years in high school. Going back to my alma matter was a great journey and a decision I am glad I made. When I first accepted the position, I had just come from coaching the dance team at Culver-Stockton College (another dance team I was a member of!) and was assigned the position with Ashleigh Douglas (now Wisslead). I knew right away that Ashleigh and I would do a great job, but I didn't know how much of a friendship I would acquire from her (see previous post!). The first year coaching was for sure a learning experience. Ashleigh and I had both come from a great squad...a history of being state champions, long lasting friendships, a great coach, gerat respect for each other, and so on and so on. Ashleigh and I had really high expectations for the squad and wanted it to be a year they would remember. The previous year, the squad did not make it to state. That was the first time in over 10 years Quincy Notre Dame Pom was not at the State competition. Our main goal was to get the girls to state. Well, that journey was of course not an easy one, but we know God did not give us anything he did not think we could handle. All of the situations he put before us made us stronger women, better role models, and deepened our faith. I never IMAGINED some of the obstacles we encountered, but we persevered and got the squad to state....PLACING 4th and msising 3rd by .1!!!!! We were very pleased with our first year as coaches of the squad.

So, the second year...I was on my own. Ashleigh took a job in a different city :( I had learned a lot from that first year of coaching a high school squad and was feeling very confident about going into the second year. The year went pretty smoothly, with a few bumps in the road here and there. We ended up with a small amount of girls then we started with, but we made it work! We made it to state once again, however, did not place very well. We took two routines to State...competiting in Pom and in Dance. The feeling of hearing them announce at Super Sectionals that we qualified our dance routine was out of this world! Dance had some PHENOMINAL teams!! We were definately out of league, but it would prepare us for the future. Pom, I do believe, we got shunned on. The team that won deserved it by all means!!! They rocked it out, no pun intended since their theme was 'rock and roll'. I do though, in my honest heart, believe we should've placed at least 5th! I feel I bonded with the girls on this squad more than I had the previous one, soley because a majority of these girls I had been with for two years. At the end of this year, I knew for sure I would be coaching another year, but did not know yet if I would continue on after. I would be getting married and that set up a whole new chapter in my life!!

So, that brings us to the third year of my coaching experience at Quincy Notre Dame. I had a super group of girls!! A very talented, hard working group. We killed it at camp! Camp is always a great time, but I saw this squad grow so much and get so close and learn so much! I knew this was going to be a challenging year for me as I was getting married in September. I had a group of Alumni pommers help out the week of my wedding and the week after while I was on my honeymoon. During that time, we had the annual fundraiser where we host an after school camp for gradeschool girls and then they perform that night at the football game. Because of the awesome parents I had and the support of the alumni pommers, everything went smoothley! We started working on competition and had a great theme for pom. We decided to continue on with our dance journey, ordered costumes and picked out a song. When we started teaching the squad the competitiong routine, it was obvious that our strong suit would be pom, and we decided to forgo entering our dance routine. In January, I made the decision that I would not continue the next year as the pom coach. I had gotten in to Physical Therapy Assistant school, which was a goal of mine to do after Matt and I got married. It was a VERY hard decision. I listed out the pros and the cons, and talked to Ashleigh about it, and it just made sense to step down. WIth it being my last year, I wanted to do well more than ever before!! At our very first regional we received 2nd place, beating the current state champs. As the regionals went on, I felt like we kept getting screwed (sorry). We qualified the routine for state and the girls did a great job, however-the judges saw something in other routines that they did not see in ours. I was heartbroken. I wanted this squad to place well at State...even come home with a 1st place finish!! We just couldn't do it. It was very hard. I felt like as a coach I had let my squad down, my one senior, the upperclassmen who choreographed the routine, the past pommers. Ugh! Hopefully, the girls will come back strong next year!!!

I'm not going to lie........there are times I miss it. When I see photos of the girls from camp and know what a great experience that can be. When I hear the girls talk about how excited they are for the upcoming season. When I hear a song on the radio or see a routine and think (OH that's a great idea.....oh wait lol). There is a QND Football game tonight and I am going. This will be the first time I attend a QND football game as just a fan. Not as a member of the pom pon squad, not as a clinical athletic training student on the side line, not as a coach..........a fan, an alumni of the school, and an alumni pommer. Just Laura :)

SO, as I look back on my three years of coaching, I hope the girls:

Looked at me as a good Christian Role Model.

Learned to treat others with respect.

Saw how much the alumni pom pon squad members support them and that they always will.

Learned time management.

How to succeed even when you think you have failed.

Know they can always come to me, any time/any place/with any issue!

Know that everything I did, was in the best interest of the squad and them as individuals!

I wish the two new coaches (Alumni pommers of the squad as well...WAHOO!!!) the best of luck!!! I sure learned a lot! I've been in your shoes, and if you ever need advice on anything...I'm here for you!! In the good times and the bad!!

To the current and future members of the squad.........treat each other, your coaches, and your parents with respect! Don't talk bad about each other, don't criticize each other. Pray together, learn together, succeed together! CHEERIOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once a QND Pommer.....Always a QND POMMER!

Pommers: What is your favorite memory?

General Readers: What do you think?

Comments are open to all!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Two of my very best friends don't live in the same town as me....not even the same area. I miss them dearly and hate that we don't have the convenience of driving across town or just down the road to see each other.

Mary lives in Grimes, Iowa a small town just outside of Des Moines. We have been best friends since Kindergarten! She is currently pregnant WAHOO!!!!!!!1 We just played phone tag for like 3 weeks trying to get in touch with one another! We would leave each other voicemails with our schedules so we could try to catch one another. I miss that she isn't just down the road. I want to run to see her and her belly growing with that precious life growing inside of it!

Ashleigh lives in Edwardsville, Illinois just outside of St. Louis, MO. I miss this girl like crazy. We went to high school together and were on pom together and have done TEC together and all that jazz. However, we didn't become good friends until we were both coaches of the QND Pom Pon Squad a few years ago. This girl is my ideal woman! She is SOOO strong in her faith, her love of Jesus, her love of her family, and her love for her husband. I hate that we don't live by each other anymore. I want her to come over to watch So You Think You Can Dance or go to Gem City for Chicken Nachos and Margaritas. She is such a GOOD friend and I miss her.

Then I have my friends in the town of Quincy. I don't even get to see them that much either because we are all SOOOO busy! I feel like I have such a great group of friends, but we never get to see each other! With me going back to school for the next 2 years, it's going to be even worse!!!

It's a good thing I like my co-workers at First Choice and Bath and Body since I'm around them ALL THE TIME!! They are my friends, too. It is true, people. You can be friends with the people you work would just be nice to spend more time with them outside of work, but that isn't possible when you are always working!!

Prayer List

Mini-TEC 56

Friends far away (Ashleigh, Mary, Joni)

Friends close by (Mandy, Nikki, Keeli, Ashley Z, Dawn, Cassie, Kara, Michelle, Jayson, Rasche, etc)

First Choice Friends (Brooklyn, Ashley, Becca, Kelly, Brian, even Mike and the rest of the gang HAHA)

BBW Crew (ALL OF YOU!!!!)

Matt and I for a safe travel to Chicago this weekend

The Cubs (please get a WIN on Saturday!)



Monday, August 2, 2010


Per the request of my many avid bog readers, I have decided to put up a new blog! Your welcome :)

It's been a few weeks since I have blogged, and we've got some updating to do!

1. My Dad had surgery last monday for luekoplasia which is basically an abnormal white spot on his vocal chords. The surgery went well and he isn't able to talk for 2 weeks, or have little talking for 2 weeks. We got the results back on friday and the doctor said there was some dysplasia noted which is just some abnormalities. He wants to see Dad again in a couple of weeks to re-evaluate him, so please continue to keep him in your prayers.

2. We played volleyball last Thursday at 10:00. *10:00* seriously?!!? on a THURSDAY!?! I'm getting to old for this! I was perfectly content at home on my couch watching So You Think You Can Dance and Big Brother. BUT, we went and played volleyball and unfortunately lost our first two matches of this session so that was a MAJOR downer. THEN on the way home...I got pulled over :( He pulled us over because my driver side headlight was out and said he clocked me doing 62/55 and THEN he also said my rear registration light was out (WHICH IT ISN'T!!). Anyways, I just got a written warning, but I'm thinking he was hoping to get a DUI out of me which wasn't going to happen buddy, I WAS SOBER!

3. Come into work on Friday to find out my co-worker and good friend was in an awful motorcycle accident! When another co-worked told me about it, I straight up said I didn't believe her. SO, I hurried to get online to find the news article and was true. She unfortunately lost her right leg and has a pretty bad broken right shoulder. God wasn't ready to take her yet and we are truly grateful he is letting us keep her! She is a very strong woman and she will get through this, but it's going to be a tough journey. I went up to see her Friday afternoon while she was in the ICU. She's since been moved out of ICU to a private room. I went and saw her last night, but she slept the whole time. I plan on going to see her tonight. She was supposed to come out to my house and watch the season finale of the Bachelorette, so I'm going to go up there and hopefully we are able to watch it together.

4. IT'S MY HUBBY AND I'S BIRTHDAY WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really love that our birthday's are so close together! Matt will be 26 tomorrow and I will be 27 on Saturday.....that's TOO close to 30!!! EEK!!!!!! We are going to Chicago for the weekend and I'M SUPER excited for the getaway! We are going to see a Cub's game on Saturday! WAHOO!!! Hopefully we will see a WIN...they are playing the Reds so..........anything's possible though at Wrigley!!

5. There is a Mini-TEC this weekend and we currently have 23 candidates! AND I have directors for all of the Mini-TEC's this year...whew!

WELL, I think that's all the updates I have!


Kelly Veihl

Dr. Kim

Ashley's Grandma

Becca's Mother-in-Law

Mini-TEC 56!!

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