Gail Wood of ThurstonTalk.com filed this report:
“Need some inspiration?
Then take a seat and listen to Arlin Olsons story. Hell make you cry. Then hell bring you to your feet, cheering.
‘Ive been through a lot,’ Olson said. ‘I guess Im still here for a reason.’
Its to inspire.
Since July 2007, hes had 11 knee surgeries, all on his right knee. If he needs another surgery, it will be an amputation. His right leg is now an inch and a half shorter than his left, forcing him to wear lifts in his shoes.
In April, he fell, breaking his ribs. One rib punctured his lung and his other lung filled with fluid, putting him in critical condition. He nearly died.”
“But Olson, a longtime coach who played college basketball at Eastern Washington in the 1960s, made his biggest comeback ever. He cheated death.”
“While he walks with a cane, has a limp and will take antibiotics twice a day for the rest of his life, hes still coaching. Hes still involved, pushing against the despair of what hes lost and refusing to hold a pity party. Hes a volunteer assistant girls basketball coach at Yelm High School for Russ Riches, a longtime friend.”
“At least once a week, hell be at a practice, coaching. Hell also go to Yelms upcoming opponent, video taping the game and giving Riches a scouting report.”
“As a coach, Olson inspired with his words. Now, as a volunteer coach with Riches, he inspires with actions.
Olson has a long coaching history. He coached the boys basketball team at Yelm from 1990-93, then became an assistant at South Puget Sound Community College for three years before becoming the head coach there for five years. He then became an assistant at Evergreen State College and returned to Yelm several years ago to become the boys head coach again before his knee forced him to stop.
“‘Doctors told me I had to take it easy,’ Olson said.
Now 64, Olson is still coaching, helping an old friend when he can. Olson hired Riches as a boys assistant coach in 1991. Besides coaching basketball, Olson also coached fastpitch with Riches at Yelm.
‘Arlin just continues to fined new challenges,’ Riches said. ‘He hasnt allowed himself to quit doing what he does. He just continues to move forward.’
And thats why hes so inspirational.”
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