Whenever I hear a youth coach, parent or someone not very knowledgeable advising parents about their kids athletic future I cringe. Nothing makes me cringe more than when I hear adults tell a kid. “You have to make a decision and choose a sport”. This when a kid hasn’t even reached puberty yet. Thank god we still have a few parents who are smart enough to understand there is no rush… just ask Julia Shanes!

This year Rumson Fair Haven girls Cross Country Track team won its 2nd straight CJ GROUP 2 state title. If the name Julia Shanes sounds familiar to you, that’s because she played basketball at RFH as a freshman. She even started as a freshman on the Top 20 team that played in the group 2 championship game, two years ago. She was once considered one of the best freshman in the Shore Conference. You see the good lord gave Julia Shane some real talent. She could shoot the ball, dribble and defend, god made Julia Shane’s special. But just like Eric Liddell says in the movie Chariots of Fire...God, made JULIA SHANES FAST.. REAL FAST... so fast that she was named to the APP SPORT DESK ALL- SHORE 2ND TEAM a second season in a row.

It Always a big celebration when a kid wins one state championship more or less two in 3 years. It’s a thrill when a young lady gets to throw a few personal awards on the mantel along with those state titles. If you know anything about Julia Shanes, I can tell you for a fact the team awards mean much more to her. Now me? I’m just glad she is making all her dreams come true. That’s because if she didn’t listen to her heart none of these wonderful things would be happening for her these days. There’d no X-Country Chips, there’d be no personal awards on mantel and their would be no memories that will last a lifetime. I’ve been told the best runners have to dig down dig and find something in them that ordinary people like myself could never understand. They say in order to be great you must have this quality. Now I don’t know much about track and field. But I know a ton about Julia Shanes and her ability to dig down deep. That’s because Julia Shanes has always and I mean always dug down deep in anything she has ever done. She had a reputation for working hard. It’s what she has always been about. I am not sure, she knows any other way. So when people get all excited that she was named to the All Shore XC Team again. I wish I could say I was surprised. But if I was being totally honest. I would expect nothing different from her. News would be if she wasn’t doing big things.

Julia Shanes is a very lucky girl. I think she knows that these days. That’s because despite her father’s bad taste in baseball teams. He is a very smart man, a man who was smartest enough to trust and believe in his daughter. A man that opened athletic doors for his daughter. But never pushed her though any door. He simply exposed his daughter to different sports. Scott Shanes allowed his talented daughter to find her journey. He allowed his daughter to have fun and find the sport that made her smile most. More importantly, he didn’t listen when those around him and his daughter tried to box them in. Encourage and force her into one sport over other. Scott and his wife didn’t fall for that trap and force Julia into one sport over another. He allowed Julia to figure it out and that’s exactly what she did. Now he and his wife are being rewarded for trusting their daughter. The reward is a happy child, a successful child. One that can walk the streets and say…. I AM THE BEST … MY TEAMMATES AND I ARE THE BEST. That’s because Julia Shanes is doing and making big moves these days!

JULIA SHANES is brave, so brave. She gave up a sport is liked to play for a sport she loves. It could not have been easy to tell her high school basketball coach this. I know she had a hard time telling her trainer this because I still remember the day she told me. I wasn’t disappointed because I knew and let me repeat, I knew she be a great runner. That’s because she was so dedicated, nobody runs track all day and then comes and does basketball for two hours after. But that was Julia Shanes, she was different that most kids… always has been. So the success she is having these days is not a surprise to me at all. The fact of the matter is, that I’m just waiting to see what she has up her sleeve for the outdoor season.

Julia Shanes has a lot more big things to do over the next 2 years of high school. I’m just happy she went with her heart and has found her wheelhouse. Yeah, I secretly harbor thoughts of her calling me one night and saying. “Tiny what time are we shooting tomorrow”……..LOL Julia we are all so proud of you!

I can’t think of all the joy that JULIA SHANES would be missing if not for making such a brave decision along the way. I can’t stop thinking how she had so much confidence in her talent to make such a decision. I wonder what it was like telling her childhood friends she was going to focus on track. It had to be so hard to do all that. Well it was hard…. but JULIA SHANE HAS FOUND JUST WHAT SHE WAS LOOKING FOR AND IT BEEN SWEET AS A GOLD MEDAL …..



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