In many families where parents double as a coach, their children will follow them, undeniably creating an encyclopedia of same-sport memories by the time their journeys take them in different directions.
Then consider the Reed family. Annie is the fourth-year Liberty girls’ basketball coach. Her daughter Courtney, a senior at Liberty, took to swimming instead of jumpers. Their respective sports both start in November and often take place at the same time in different places, preventing either from often rooting for the other from the stands.
They realize their personal pursuits come at a price of missing out on precious moments.
“I want to be there for her, especially for her senior year, but it’s hard,” Annie Reed said. “I’ve been lucky this year since we’ve had games on the same night as a dual meet, so I can walk to the pool and watch her until it’s time for basketball. If not, she’ll text me to let me know how she did.”
To complicate things further, Annie’s husband, Lt. Col. (Ret.) George Reed, has taken on two tours in Iraq over the past two years as a civilian flight instructor. Fortunately, he was between tours in February when Courtney swam at the 5A state meet last season in Fort Collins when Annie had a game to coach.
He returned to Iraq in November and won’t be back until April. Courtney already has qualified in several events for the upcoming state meet. Even if her husband weren’t gone, there’s no way Annie would miss seeing her daughter in her final high school meet.
“She wants to be able to see me at state, and I of course want her there too,” Courtney Reed said. “From what I’ve been doing in training, I’m expecting big results.”
Both Reeds are on the verge of uncharted territory at Liberty. Annie’s Lancers already have reached last season’s win total after a 5-3 start. Liberty hopes to parlay that into the school’s first playoff berth since 2007, when it was competing in 4A.
Courtney, a three-time 5A state qualifier, broke the school record in the 50 freestyle at last season’s state meet and recently helped its 200 medley relay team set another school mark. When she arrived at Liberty, swimming was more of an afterthought. Last season, Reed barely missed scoring the school’s first team points in the state meet in the 50 and 100 free.
“I keep getting better, and her team has started getting better,” Courtney Reed said. “I want to leave Liberty with kind of a legacy of success for others to follow. I know my mom has the same kind of goals for the basketball team and good things are happening.”
Annie, a college basketball and softball player at Puget Sound, later coached softball at Valdosta State as the military family moved around. The Reeds started in Texas and made stops in Idaho, Korea and Georgia before settling in Colorado Springs not quite six years ago. The family also has two sons: Gabe, a freshman at Liberty, and Seth, a seventh-grader at Timberview Middle School.
Naturally, Gabe plays baseball and Seth found his niche in hockey. Meanwhile, Courtney’s choice in sports never made waves in the family, despite being the oldest and the only girl.
“I tried basketball,” Courtney said. “It wasn’t my thing, but my mom never pushed me. I ended up in swimming when I was 12. Before that, I played softball and soccer. Swimming was something I loved more than anything.”
Annie is able to put her coaching expertise to use, dispensing to her daughter general knowledge about how to succeed in athletics, without going too far.
“My husband and I have seen Courtney enough to give her a few tips and to be supportive,” Annie said. “But we know to leave the rest to the coaches. Being a coach, it can be tough sometimes to stay behind the scenes, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job in that regard.”
Following the holiday break, the hectic times will return to the Reed household. Fortunately, technology lends a helping hand.
“I always check my phone right before and right after a game,” Annie Reed said. “We’re always able to communicate, even if we’re not there in person. That helps.”