At this point in my life, I have gotten nostalgic about things from video games to moments with my older brothers. Perhaps it is a result of getting older and looking back on my life.
One good result of this is that I have come to appreciate people that were in my life. The only regret I have is that I wish I realized at the time how much they helped or taught me. In particular, I have thought of two coaches that tried to teach me important life lessons. Their advice is applicable at the moment, even though they told it to me back in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. Perhaps they are lessons even adults should consider.
The first coach was Rob at the YMCA gym close to where I lived. During middle school, I went into PA Cyber Charter School and joined home school programs to socialize with other kids. Rob truly pushed us physically to run laps, do push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. An example was running two miles without stopping on the track. It was physically exhausting, but a good challenge for us. But the focus of each class was not just on physical performance. Rob taught us to think of all of our classmates as teammates and to support one another all the way to the finish line. Nobody was to brag that they did better than someone else nor were they to put someone down for not performing at the same level.
This does not mean nobody won a game. There was plenty of competition and there were losers in a game of dodgeball. But Rob structured the class in such a way that the other students and I respected each other. It taught selflessness and how to encourage others when it was needed. It is difficult in today's world to see our coworkers and neighbors as teammates since we have a tendency to judge people harshly. But when we decide to look at it from a team perspective and decide to respect others, communities are improved and strengthened.
The other coach was coach Gerald. He did another home school gym program at a church. He is a skilled basketball player that nobody should underestimate. He too pushed me physically in exercise (again it was a good challenge). The program's activities varied over time. First, it involved different games, like kickball or basketball. Later on, I went to a basketball camp he hosted that was for late middle school and early high school students. However, whether it was the home school program or basketball camp, he took a period of time to do a devotion with us. Gerald was a strong Christian and he built his programs off of Christian beliefs. He wanted us to discuss life and its struggles rather than just have a fun game of basketball.
One lesson that I remember he taught back in middle school was how life is not a straight line like the side boundary of a basketball court. The line looks more like a heartbeat. It means that life is not just smooth sailing or a constant phase. It is constantly changing from happy, dopamine-filled moments to life being outright hell. He told us that is just the way life is and we have to accept it. Coming from the Christian perspective, he encouraged us to trust God in those moments. One other lesson he taught was simple but important for me. It was that most of the things that happen today will be forgotten tomorrow. Your argument with someone in a basketball game or a silly mistake with a foul shot won't be brought up tomorrow. Believe it or not, this took a while for me to accept because I myself would hold on to small issues that should have been forgotten. Eventually, I realized the importance of letting go of minor problems that did not matter in the grand scheme of things. They should not ruin friendships or your enjoyment of life.
Unfortunately, I have not seen these coaches in person since middle school. I hope, someday, to run into them again. If I do, I will thank them for passing on their wisdom and advice to me. In general, just reflecting on these two coaches makes me realize how many people in my life from childhood to the present have helped me to find the truth and the right way to live. So many adults in our lives have helped to shape us into better men and women for the future. For me, I wish I had valued their advice more in my middle school years and implemented it better in my life. At the very least, I see the good in what they do and the importance in their lessons.