Conflict With A Coach
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Sports

Conflict With A Coach

Conflicts with coaches can be super stressful and annoying...

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In eighth grade, I picked up my first lacrosse stick. I worked tirelessly at mastering the sport. After two years of countless clinics, practices, and tournaments, I made my high school Varsity team. My coach served as a huge role model for me. I looked to her for guidance and inspiration. She had built a lacrosse dynasty in my town and I was ready to make my contribution. Unfortunately, we lost the state championship that year by one goal in sudden death overtime. I watched from the bench.

After a Sunday night, Mother's Day practice, my Junior year, I approached my coach seeking advice, for I was still just a bench player. She told me point-blank that she was embarrassed for me. She said I had not improved and then laughed at me when I told her I thought I was a solid player. As the conversation escalated, she turned her back and walked off. I was left standing there on the empty field in shock. Discouragement overwhelmed me. I had failed not only my coach but myself.

Throughout life, a generous supply of support and encouragement always followed my failures. Whenever I experienced failure, I would instinctively seek reassurance to help re-install my confidence. It wasn't until that moment with my coach on Mother's Day that my thin skin broke in the wake of severe criticism. I was weak.

After practice that night, I went home feeling so humiliated that I wrote a letter stating my decision to quit. I intended to deliver it to my coach the next day. However, with twenty-four hours to figure out how to handle the situation, I decided to push through to the end of the season. I wasn't an amazing player, and it was okay. Through the words of Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" (Winston Churchill). I left the letter at home. Showing up to practice the next day was not for my coach. It was for me.

Last Spring, on June 18th, our efforts took us all the way to Nickerson Field at Boston University. I became a State Champion that day... watching from the bench.

My response to failure has changed dramatically through this life experience. I now know that criticism is nothing but evidence that there is always something to improve upon. I value tenacity and appreciate the undeniable value of failure — for one cannot live without facing it and without it there is no growth. In J.K. Rowling's 2008 Harvard Commencement speech she powerfully states this truth: "It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default" (J.K. Rowling).

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