As one of the nation’s top-ranked high school throwers, Logan Coles understands the importance of proper technique.
Turn, release, and watch it fly. It’s a system that he’s gotten down pat, one that helped him earn multiple All-American honors plus a Division I scholarship that enables him to continue his throwing career at the University of Kentucky.
This same youngster – a senior at Woonsocket High School – is also a part-time worker at the local Subway sandwich shop. Behind the counter, Coles adheres to a vastly different type of checklist in the name of achieving proper technique.
What kind of bread do you want to accompany your roast beef? Cheese? Do you want your sandwich toasted? Lettuce and tomato? Anything else?
Coles is approaching the first anniversary of his sandwich-making foray. What possessed him to take a job in the first place – let alone during the height of the pandemic?
“At first, it was something that was sprung out of boredom,” he said. “After a while, I realized I could save money for school and other types of stuff.”
It didn’t take long for “other types of stuff” to become more goal-oriented. To get from school, to practice, to Subway, and to back home, Coles needed a car to call his own. By October, Coles had saved up enough to purchase a Subaru. The next month, the car was officially insured.
“Basically, I started working so I wouldn’t be stuck in the house all day. On top of it, I was able to save enough money to get a car and insurance,” said Coles. “It was really cool for me to be able to buy something for myself that I can use on a day-to-day basis … an investment where I’m going to have to maintain it and keep up with the responsibilities.”
Committed 💙🤍💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/e3bhY3BzQa
— Logan (@lc_lit) November 12, 2020
Intensity-wise, Coles says the pressure to perform in the circle with a 25-pound weight in his possession doesn’t quite match the pressure of completing a Subway order in a timely fashion. That’s not to say life as a sandwich maker is a picnic.
“There were days last summer when it would be hot out and suddenly, 15 cars would pull into the parking lot at the same time. I’m by myself so I’ve got to do all these sandwiches on my own,” he said. “It’s like turning on the on-switch and banging it out, but nothing compares to being outside [and working on his throwing craft].”
On average, Coles will put in anywhere between 20-25 hours per week at Subway. Keep in mind we’re talking about a high school student who happens to be an accomplished thrower – substantiated by the fact that he’s heading to compete at the NCAA Power Five level.
How does he master schoolwork, his athletic responsibilities, plus work commits?
“I’ve definitely learned the importance of balancing my time and schedule,” said Coles. “I’ll go into work right after practice and close up [at Subway] between 8-8:30 at night. If I have some time before work, I’ll get some of my [school] work done. Once my shift is over, I’ll head home and finish up whatever else I have to do before going to sleep.
— Logan (@lc_lit) July 28, 2020
“It was an adjustment where I could have been doing schoolwork or practicing, but I feel like I’ve found a sweet spot,” he added.
Fortunately for Coles, his bosses at Subway have an understanding nature. They know they’re dealing with someone who might be heading out of town to compete in a prestigious meet. One such example occurred in late February when Coles became a national champion thanks to a dominant performance at the Adidas Indoor Nationals held in Virginia Beach, Va.
“I’ve known [the bosses at Subway] since I was a little kid,” said Coles. “They’re really lenient with me as far as hours because they know I could be leaving to head somewhere for a meet. No one else would probably want to hire me if I can only work two hours a night.”
Coles had never entered the work force prior to his employment at Subway.
“I never thought I would get a job before college,” he said. “It definitely made me become more mature and pay more attention to what I was doing … getting my body on a schedule and helping with clarity.
“When I’m at track, I’m focusing only on track. At work, I’m only worried about work. The same thing with school,” he continued.
— Logan (@lc_lit) July 25, 2020
As for the Subway sandwich that gives him the most trouble to put together, Coles says all items that can be found on the menu “are pretty easy to make.”
That’s not say he hasn’t run into a customer or two with an unusual request.
“There’s one customer who comes in and gets a tuna fish sandwich with extra tuna on flatbread. The bread is so small, then he gets it toasted and the tuna becomes all mushy. He also wants extra cheese,” said Coles. “Then he wants seven pounds of lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Then you’ve got to finagle it so you can get the sandwich to close.”
It’s those kinds of interactions with customers that has Coles singing a new tune when it comes to respecting those working in food services.
“Before having a job, I would walk in, get my food, and leave,” he said. “Now that I’m working and dealing with people on a regular basis … it’s about being respectful when you’re coming into someone’s place of business.”
It was his high school track coach who best summed up Coles’ handling of the many hats he wears.
“He continues to put in the time, but he’s also shown that his priorities are straight,” said Woonsocket coach Marc Piette. “He’s been able to make it work.”