The life of an athlete is filled with so many coaches, and some that kill your passion for the game. Yet some coaches can find the passion that another coach once killed and remind you why you play and why you have such a love for the game.
You were the first to believe in me and the first to push me harder than I had ever been pushed before. I have been overlooked my entire athletic career, I'm not strong or tall, or look like a natural athlete. But I had a passion for learning, to work on my skills, and because of that you saw me and believed in me more than anyone ever has. I admire your passion, your heart for the game, and the support and care you put into each of your players. You are everything I want to be as a player and as a coach.
Although I did not get to play for you for very long, you have made a lasting impact on my life. No one has believed in me or made me believe in myself like you did. I grew up with a passion for the game, but every time I walked into your practice, every time I stepped onto the court with you I felt that spark that reminded me why I played the game. You held me accountable every time I walked into the gym. I desired to work for you, to hit every shot, perfect every move, I had a desire to no matter what be the best possible player I could for you.
The one regret I have is not coming back to play for you when I had the chance. But I want you to know that even hundreds of miles away, you were always in the back of my mind, always in my heart. Even hundreds of miles away I wanted to make you proud. You had no idea what was happening but you were always there holding me accountable. There were so many days that I wanted so badly to throw in the towel because I just couldn't handle it anymore. But I still strived to make you proud, I still made sure that I was doing everything I could to be the best. Even not being my coach, I played for you.
My passion died in high school and I couldn't get it back. I tried, I played for hours on end, watched countless games, and I just couldn't find it. Now, having the opportunity to come back to the games you are coaching, having the opportunity to talk the game with you again, I'm slowly getting that spark back. You are making me remember why I played, why I dedicated my life to this sport. You are making me realize now more than ever how much I want to coach. I just hope and pray that I can turn out to be half the coach you are; to be able to know the game like you, able to play the game like you, able to impact lives like you have.
Thank you for believing in me, supporting me in everything I do, for caring about me. Thank you for keeping that fire for the game alive in me for so long. I could not have been the athlete I was without you. I also would not have been able to fight for the game I loved for so long without having you in my life. Thank you for inspiring me every day to be the best I could be. Thank you for having even more heart for the game than I did — and for sharing that passion with me. You've impacted my life so much more than you will ever realize.
When I was younger, you were everything I wanted to be as a player. Now, you are everything I want to be as a coach.