Megan Hale fell in love with sports at a young age and now she’s sharing that love with the children of Frankfort.

Hale, originally of Scottsville, graduated from Allen County-Scottsville High School in 2013. As a child, she played basketball, but in high school she switched her focus to running track and cross country.

She excelled at running and was recruited by Berea College to run on its track and cross country teams.

In college, she majored in health and human performance. She graduated in 2017. During her last semester, she got a job as a sports coordinator for the Central YMCA of Kentucky in Lexington.

In December, she was promoted to sports director of the Frankfort YMCA.

State Journal: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Hale: I thought I was going to be in the WNBA and then that changed once I realized I was going to be 5 foot, 5 inches, and wasn’t going to weigh enough to compete.

SJ: What made you decide on health and human performance as your major?

Hale: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I wasn’t big into school. I was just trying to find something that was doable. I was taking a lot of intro classes, then I took my first human performance class and I liked it and was good at it.

The physiology part of it was interesting to me. I took a class called Foundations to Physical Education, where I got to explore different careers within the major like coaching, athletic director and sports marketing. It just opened my eyes to all the different options related to sports.

SJ: Was it hard to be an athlete in college?

Hale: Berea is a difficult college as a student-athlete. It’s a work-study college, so along with being an athlete, I had to work a job and excel in academics. It was hard to manage at first. I struggled, but once I got in the flow I became part of the community. The team became my family.

As far as competing, I enjoyed the thrill of it. I loved seeing new places. We ran in Syracuse, New York. That was the furthest away we competed, and the coldest place I’ve ever ran in.

SJ: Do you still run?

Hale: I am just now getting back into it. I took some time off after a hip injury, but it’s better now.

SJ: How has it been working at the Frankfort YMCA?

Hale: It’s been great. I really enjoy the community. Frankfort is a place I can fit in and belong.

The job has been great. It has its challenges at times. I have great coworkers and a staff that help me out when needed.

Before this job, I had never been to Frankfort before. I didn’t know we had Buffalo Trace. Downtown is cool and interesting. You wouldn’t think Frankfort would have all that it does.

SJ: How is it working with kids?

Hale: I love it. I never saw myself working with kids. I had never been around younger kids. I love being able to go out in the community and they recognize me. They say, “That’s Coach Megan.” It’s a great feeling.

I make it a goal to coach one team per season. I usually teach the 3-year-olds and 4- to 5-year-olds.

SJ: Do you have a favorite sport to coach?

Hale: I never played it growing up, but soccer is my favorite. I always wanted to play, but my county didn’t offer it.

When I got to college, I played intramural soccer. Right now, I’m coaching 3-year-old T-ball and some of the summer soccer teams.

T-ball is going well. I’m really happy with how the league is running. My participants are having fun. We get to be outside and enjoy the outdoors. They look cute in their little uniforms.

Next up is fall soccer. It’s one of our biggest leagues. Practices start the last week of August. Signups on ymcacky.org have already started. They end Aug. 19.

SJ: Why do you think it’s important for kids to be in sports?

Hale: There’s the physical developments, balance coordination, cognitive developments, psychological developments. Sports are good for social developments.

I tell my staff that we need to make sure we’re always positive with the kids. This might be their one big thing that they love to do, and if they’re here to have a good time, we need to make sure they have a good time.

SJ: When you’re not working, what do you like to do?

Hale: I like to go hiking. I have a dog. She’s a German shepherd mix. Her name is Clarke. We go on walks and hikes. I like to go to the Pinnacles in Berea.

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