Skip to Main Content

What Does It Take To Become An Olympian? Chapter 3: Be Inspired By Your Support System.

  • 2 Years, 2 Months AGO
Below you will find a letter that has been resurfaced from 1997. Written from a proud, yet confused, mother to her daughter’s elementary school P.E. Teacher, Mr. Barr. 

(For legibility reasons, have retyped this gem for you.)

Dear Mr. Barr,

I came to school today on the chance that I might see you. I wanted to talk to you about my daughter, Stefanie Fee.  At a block party Miss Suddith had for her class (on June 14), she shared with me a comment you had made regarding Stefanie’s athletic abilities.  That prompting a discussion on a “dilemma” my husband and I have been facing for a couple of years. Ms. Suddith suggested I talk to you:
  •  What do you do with a child that seems to like all sports, seems to have a knack for them, and has every piece of athletic equipment there is (except skies, golf clubs, and boxing gloves)?
  • Will she grow up to be a “Jack-of-all-trades” and master of nothing?
  • Should we be encouraging her to really focus on a few sports? If so, which ones? Or is it too early? Or already too late? 
It would be easy if her own interests narrowed down her choices, but as I said before, she seems to like them “all”… and she’s good at everything, not GREAT at everything. 

She Took gymnastics and swimming lessons a couple of years ago and has played T-Ball one season and soccer 5 seasons. That’s for “formal training." Outside of that, time and money do have their limitations. Any Comments, suggestions, insights you can offer us to help her be her best would be greatly appreciated. I can come back to school or you can call at 481-7977. 

Thank you so much for your time and any help you can offer. She thinks the world of you and your staff.
                                                                                                                                           “Charlie” Martz 

Examples of :
Other comments we have received that have led us to think she has some athletic talent:
·      “Do ya know your daughter hit the ball over my house today??”
·      “Shes the best fielder on the team!”
·      “So hoe long has your daughter been taking lessons?” –Its her first day. “NO WAY!”
Ice Skating
·      “I couldn’t believe it – its her 1st time skating and she just got on the ice and took off. By the end of the hour one of the instructors had her doing trwirls and jumps.”
·      Her current coach recruited her and is begging her to be on his basketball team.
·      (From another team’s coach) “She’s one of the best – if not the best –goalie in the U-8 League.” 
·      Diving – “I’ve never been able to show a kid 2 times how to do it…. And she does it!” 

I was 7 years old when my mom wrote this letter to my Physical Education teacher. Mr. Barr posted these pictures on Facebook earlier this month and the next chapter for "What Does It Take To Become An Olympian?" was a no-brainer. 

Chapter 3: Be Inspired By Your Support System. 

This letter is such an inspiration to me because it signifies all the behind-the-scene sacrifices, made by my friends and family, that have played instrumental roles in getting me this far in my career. I am so grateful for everyone who has supported me along this journey. No matter if I am 1 of the 16 going to Rio, or not, I know that my support system will be just as proud of me as the first day I picked up a field hockey stick.