A Thank You To The Coach Who Pushed Me
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A Thank You To The Coach Who Pushed Me

You made me the athlete, student, and person that I am

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A Thank You To The Coach Who Pushed Me
Jamie Calabrese

I was blessed to be born athletic and with a love for running. I was that kid who would smile when a coach would say to run laps or bleachers and be the first one done every time. I knew I was fast and knew that made me valuable to a team. Sure I worked hard at practice, but I definitely didn’t work as hard as I could have. I floated to fly balls and would jog during sprints just because I could. I didn’t have a coach who called me out and made me work hard. And then I ended up on your team.

One of the first things you did was tell me that under no circumstances was I to allow anyone on my team to beat me in any race, running drill, or sprint. Then, you started challenging me and forcing me to work hard. If I did as much as jog to you when you called me over instead of sprinting, I was in trouble. I learned pretty quickly that you’d make me do push-ups while the rest of the team ran because I would enjoy the running. You had no problem making sure I finished practice almost too exhausted to walk to the car.

You started a fire within me to be better, work harder, and run faster than everyone else. I was always competitive, but you made me turn it up a notch. If I was going to float to a fly ball in practice, I was going to have to go catch five more after practice and you had no problem hitting them so I had no chance to catch them. If I wouldn’t run my heart out in sprints, I could keep doing them. If I didn’t dive, slide, or do whatever I could to do my job, I got a finger hooked into my face mask and had you up in my face telling me what I did wrong and why I know better all while I’m hoping you didn’t spit any of you chew into my face. So I did whatever I could to avoid those talks.

I didn’t necessarily appreciate how hard you worked me at the time. There were days when I dreaded practice, whether it was because I had a hard cross country practice that morning or didn’t practice my footwork during the week or I was just being lazy. Yet, I went and soon learned that I was my own worst enemy. You would make me do five push-ups per bunt that went back up the middle, and as I was learning how to slap, my bunts went back up the middle. My arms would be shaking by the end of batting practice, but you told me that I was fine and should go bunt again since they went back up the middle earlier. After doing up to 50 push-ups, the last thing I wanted to do was risk having to do more. Yet, looking back on it, I see that you weren’t trying to torture me, instead you wanted me to realize that when I thought I was too tired to practice more, I had it in me.

Because of you, I became a strong player, physically and emotionally. I was competitive to the point that my mom wouldn’t speak to me the whole way home if I had a bad tournament. I could place my bunts where you wanted them. I camped under fly balls and hustled on and off of the field. I would go home from practice and be so sore and tired that taking a shower was a struggle. Yet, you made the player I became and I thank you for that. Because of you I had the opportunity to play in college. Because of you I know how to work hard and get what I want. So, thanks Coach. For everything.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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