"Le Baton" a tribute to Anne Norton

Le Baton 
A Tribute to a Teacher and Friend

(baton – [ba 'tõn] n Fr ; a cylinder passed from one runner to another)

A runner's eyes squint as he follows the course of his teammate circling the track. He doesn't feel the hot sun or hear the cheering crowds. His feet bounce in anticipation as he waits. As his fellow runner approaches, he takes a few running steps, his hand reaching, fingers stretching, to feel the smooth cool baton slapped into his palm. For a few seconds, they are running side by side, step by step. The first runner then lets go, slowing his pace and watching his successor speed off with the precious baton. Transition is complete.

Anne Norton carried a variety of batons. The word itself comes from the language of her birthplace, Antwerp, Belgium. Her family lived in many places around the world before they settled in Blue Hill, Maine. Anne received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Masters of Art in French literature. She delightfully taught science and languages to high school students in Bucksport and Hampden, Maine, organizing yearly trips to France, Spain, and Canada. She taught them to embrace the cultures with food and songs and movies. Her classroom was often filled with laughter.

The baton was also another part of Anne's life—running. She coached boys' and girls' high school track and cross-country teams. Gerry Clapper remembers, "What made her a good coach was that she brought together the right mix of teaching how to work hard to achieve goals while also stressing the benefits of running, not just now, but all through life.

She also served as senior official for track meets around the state. Anne Norton was one of the first senior women marathoners in central Maine. She and her husband promoted the sport of running, establishing the Tour du Lac Ten-Mile Road Race in Bucksport, besides participating in numerous other races, even up through recent years before cancer took her life on February 21, 2009.

There are many who have felt her baton, the joy of life, in their palm. She encouraged and cheered and pushed many to do their best. Some went on to be teachers, others became coaches. All who ran beside her, either on the track or in her life, were blessed by knowing her.

There are others running beside us in our lives. Are we placing a baton in their palms and showing them how to run strongly with patience until they reach the finish line? Are we shouting “Bon Courage!” to those who are weary and want to give up? Let us pass on the baton smoothly with confidence until the transition is complete.


Anonymous said...

Very nice tribute to someone who had an influence
in your life. Wish I'd known her. Sunny

Anonymous said...

anne was a friend. she never judged me but let me be me. she was a good person. She was a coach.


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