By Rowan Beck
Shelburne resident Dave Parmelee, better known as “Coach Parm,” appears to have the magic touch with the Charlotte Central School’s cross country team. He has been able to unify the group of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls and boys and teach them that running is more than just winning. It’s about good sportsmanship, friendships, teammates, personal goals, encouragement, and fun.
Parmelee is no stranger to running. A dedicated runner throughout high school and college, he spent 30 years coaching the Brown’s River team, a formidable force, prior to coaching at Charlotte Central School (CCS).
Parents knew that the CCS administration had hit the bull’s-eye with this hire when at the first unofficial meet in Shelburne he asked all the runners to turn to their neighbor, say hello, and wish them good luck as they may all be running at CVU someday. Coach Parm believes that cross country is a sport where “every child can be successful and feel good, plus no one sits on the bench!” For him it’s more than running and winning and he wants his team to feel the same way. He encourages runners to set personal goals to measure their progress and not to compare themselves to others. He believes that runners feel success when they are good sports and team members. “Cross-country is unique in that 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls and boys work together as one team, which helps to provide a ‘family feel.’” Every person on his team has a role.
His weekly workouts always have an element of fun. The team may play dodge ball, capture the flag, or go for a hike. On a day when they’ve had a really hard workout they may have some of “Coach Parm’s Punch” or another fun treat. He continually gives positive feedback to his team for their solid efforts and good sportsmanship. He also very communicative with the parents so there is never a question. “I feel fortunate to be coaching in this community,” Coach Parm said and the feelings of parents are mutual.
Coach Parm has created a team with synergy and consistency. The girls have placed at all the meets which according to Coach Parm is significant because CCS has a smaller team than most. Team members support each other at every race and cheer each other on at varying spots on the course. At the last meet of the season both teams excelled. The girls finished with four runners in the Top 10, and first place overall. The boys had three in the Top 10 and finished second overall.