Taylor - Rise and Run

Tessa Taylor
College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences - Athletic Coaching (Master’s)

Rise and Run

The morning air was crisp, and the grass was still wet around the track. I stooped down and double knotted my shoes just to be sure. I shook out my legs and swung my arms as I walked up to the start line waiting for the signal. Mrs. Hall blew her whistle, and I was off in a sea of Ked clad third graders. Tony the Tiger was coaching me along, “show them that you’re a tiger, show them what you can do.” This was the beginning of my love of running 30 years ago, and now I find myself, whistle in hand, passing on the dream to the next generation of bright-eyed young athletes.

I pursued my passion for running at Furman University where I earned my bachelor’s degree in studio art. During those years, the back and forth between athletics and art created balance and perspective in my life. Both running and creating art have become tools that I use to clear my thoughts and process emotions. Often when I am out running, I begin painting pictures in my mind of landscapes that move me. I am currently in the master’s in Athletic Coaching program at FSU and coach at Frostproof Middle Senior High School. FSU Coach is equipping me with greater knowledge and best practices to better serve my athletes. Through my studies, I have developed my philosophy of coaching and goals for my athletes to be healthy, to experience self-improvement, and to enjoy running.

Youth sports have become increasingly specialized and high pressure. During summer training, I take my cross-country team for off campus runs in rural Florida. We use this more relaxed time without the constraints of school to discover dirt roads and have fun running without the tension of competition. I hope running can become for them a lifelong joy and exploration that lasts long past their school days.

Artwork Description:

Rise and Run is inspired by a photo I took during one of our summer early morning cross-country runs. I chose watercolor because I like mixing the earthy hues and watching them take on a life of their own as they spread through the water on the paper. Frostproof is a wealth of beauty nestled in orange groves and cattle farms of old Florida. I desire for my art to showcase our stunning countryside and how it can be experienced through movement.

Rise and Run is on loan from the collection of Robert J. Hodge.