Book Commemorates Mexico Track and Field
But it's not a book from a coach bragging about a state title.
"It's a story about commitment, adversity and how I want to make a statement to these kids to learn to overcome adversity," Ridgeway says.
And nobody's seen more than Armel Nunnelly, the real life protagonist.
"People are constantly coming up to me and saying. Hey, I saw you hanging up in the high school," Nunnelly says. "I'm like yeah, that would be me."
For all his speed, Nunnelly could never outrun his health problems. His senior season he ran with a pacemaker.
"I had to go through so much my last two years of high school," Nunnelly remembers. "It was awful and that made us winning state and the book that much more important to me."
Coach nicknamed Nunnelly 22.5, the title of the book, and the exact point total Nunnelly earned in the 2001 State Championship.
Ridgeway says, "It was kind of a joke. But as we got down to the tail end of it, that's exactly what happened. So that was the odd thing about it, too."
"I was sititng there reading it and I would kind of squinch every now and then. I didn't know that coach knew all that he had put in the book." Nunnelly said.
Stride by stride is how he coaches. He took some of his own lessons; page by page.
"I've answered my own goal," Ridgeway says. "If you don't set a goal and shoot for it then you never know. The guy that doesn't try is a loser."
Nunnelly says the book reminded him of his love for track, and renewed his desire to turn back the page on his running career.
"It makes me feel like I had a bigger impact on Mexico Track and Field than just breaking records," Nunnelly says.
"It's more about the heart, and confronting adversity," says Ridgeway. "Things in life that if a person really picks it up and reads it they can learn a few things."
Nunnelly still lives in Mexico and says the book is actually motivating him to get back into track and field. Either as an athlete or a coach, maybe at Mexico high school. Some of the money the book makes is going to go into an Mexico alumni scholarship fund.
To get a copy of the book you can buy it online at authorhouse.com.
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