---- — Olympian Sarah Groff recently paid a visit back to her childhood stomping grounds, and boy did she make her rounds.
The triathlete genuinely seemed happy to be back. One of her visits included a trip mack to her alma mater, Cooperstown Central School. There, she laughed and joked with students before giving a more formal presentation. She signed autographs and stuck around afterward, as well.
After the assembly held in front of fifth- through 12th-grader at the Cooperstown middle/high school auditorium, Secondary Principal Michael Cring said his former gym class student deserved an A for public speaking. This was even after she busted on him about not receiving one from him in the past and recalling he may have even referred to her efforts in his class as lacking.
If we were handing out grades, we would have to agree with Cring. Groff shared her childhood stories with those in attendance, even the embarrassing ones. She got the crowd engaged and was able to bring about laughter as she joked about herself and her experiences.
If those in town did not know Groff before her visit, many sure got an insight of what she is all about and who she was growing up — a nerdy kid who ate grass on a dare for a dollar.
She brought her can-do attitude and said it does not take a child prodigy to be really good at something. Yes, even a small-town girl can become a somebody, according to Groff.
“Patience and hard work over time equals results,” she said. “I am absolutely living proof of that.”
The Olympian said she never had the chance to have someone who grew up in Cooperstown stand on stage and say, “Hey you know what? You guys can do it too.”
That is what her message was all about.
Groff of course included discussion of her fourth-place finish in the London Games, but so much more was learned about her. She even gave a glimpse into her future revealing she hopes to have four or five more years left in her athletic career and is hoping to make it back to the Olympics in four years. She said if she makes it back, she will have bigger expectations with a goal of medaling.
We here at the Crier are pulling for a dream come true for Groff, as we are sure the rest of those in her once-called hometown will be, too.