I started coaching at a young age. When I was 14, my tumbling coach let me assist in tumbling and cheerleading classes doing basic things like leading warm-ups and supervising younger athletes in the foam pit. By the time I was 19, I was running my own classes, open gyms and private lessons.
My boss, the athletes and their parents all watched me grow up from being a freshman in high school to a freshman in college, all while trusting me enough to coach these aspiring Olympians and ninjas and everything in between.
Having to leave my first coaching job to go to college broke my heart because each student became a huge part of my life.
I would help elementary students studying for spelling tests before our classes started and comfort middle schoolers who just had their heart crushed by their first major crush. Leaving all of that behind for a year was so difficult. I was lucky though because my sophomore year of college came with the opportunity to coach the high school club diving team from my hometown.
I had worked with high schoolers when I was in high school, but now that I am in college I took this job position knowing I needed to set an example of how to be a good student, athlete, leader and overall person for athletes that were in the process of applying for college. Now that my first season in this role has almost ended I am realizing all of these athletes taught me more than I could ever have taught them.
I am so thankful for that and I need each athlete to know that.
To my divers: Thank you for trusting me as your coach during this season. For a lot of you, this was your first experience diving and you let me learn how to do this job alongside you all learning how to be a diver. I know there will be a lot of room to improve for both of us as we work together through the rest of your time in high school and mine in college, but I really appreciate you sticking out the season through all the rough patches and letting me be here to help you succeed.
For my seniors that are about to go to city and state meets for one last time:
thank you for not quitting during this season! I know senior year is hard, I was just there. Senioritis is real, but I am so proud of the hard work and dedication each of you has put into the season. I could not care less about what the outcome of city and state meet are, I am just so lucky to have been your coach during your last high school season. I cannot wait to see where life takes all of you!
To all the athletes that let me coach them when I was still a high schooler:
Most of you probably will not ever see this or read this, but thank you for treating me like a big sister, babysitter, mentor, coach and everything in between. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of as a person from dealing with toddler temper tantrums and high schoolers that are totally too cool to listen to a coach.
I would not be the responsible, caring person I am today if it were not for the good and bad days we all had together. I try to keep up with as many of you as I can on your journey through life and I pray that every single one of you will grow up to be an amazing athlete, student and person.
Lastly, I have to say thank you to my athlete's parents:
First of all, you all have some amazing kids! Second of all, even now, I look really young. I know it has to be odd having your child coached by someone who barely looks 13 years old, but I am so glad you all trust me.
Being able to coach your kids, interact with you all, and see the love and support you have for your athletes has really stuck with me and sits in my heart. So thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your child's life. I really appreciate everything I have learned from you all as parents.
Long story short, I will never be able to look each athlete and parent in the eye and tell them "thank you."
I also know there are so many other people I have interacted with as a coach I should thank, coworkers, all my bosses and other random people that walked into the gym, but I could go on for days listing gratitude.
All in all, to my past, present and future athletes, know that I am praying for you to be the incredible people I know you will grow up to be and I stand firm in the saying "once a coach, always a coach."
If you ever need me I will be here around to help you where I can, your success is and will always be important to me.