Important Life Lessons I Learned From Two Coaches

Important Life Lessons Learned From Two Coaches

See the good in what they do and the importance in their lessons.

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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.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.

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Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.

Love,

Me

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