I have a job where I'm consistently interacting with coaches. I'm around them for a good portion of my days, and I've seen every type of coach imaginable. I've seen the quiet ones, the loud ones, the obnoxious ones, the inappropriate ones, and the good ones. In my community, there are a lot of good ones.
Being so involved in this community, especially recently, I've been reflecting on the coaches I've had in my life. From Little League, to AAU, to high school, there's been a large variation. They've been parents, neighbors, friends, and complete strangers. There have been good moments, frustrating moments, downright bad moments, and wonderful moments. And I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.
So, this one is for all of you. Thank you.
Thank you for yelling at me. Without it, I wouldn't have learned how to take criticism and turn it into change.
Thank you for talking to me. Whether it was about the sport, my life, your life, or how in love you were (are) with Carrie Underwood -- it meant the world to me.
Thank you for pulling me aside and trying to get to the root of the problem, rather than just screaming at me to do better. I let my personal life onto the court far too often, and I needed you to call it out in me, and I needed you to care. You did.
Thank you for not getting mad at us when we pranked you. Silly string isn't that hard to get out of (perfectly coiffed) hair, right?
Thank you for investing in me. For all of those extra hours in the gym, for all of those extra grounders after practice, and for all those conversations about how to improve. You gave me the determination I needed and the perseverance I desired to make it through.
Thank you for seeing me as a person, rather than just a player. For trying to build my character, not just my skills.
Thank you for your encouragement, for your respect. For teaching me to give it out myself.
Thank you for sacrificing time with your family and friends to coach us. For all of those missed family dinners and late nights driving back from games.
Thank you for being consistent. We always knew what to expect from you, for better or for worse. Even if it meant consistently bad jokes.
Thank you for standing up for us. When we were treated unfairly, you sprung into action. Thank you for caring enough about us to (somewhat) consistently get technical fouls on our behalf (even if the AD wasn't too happy about it).
Thank you for forcing me to become a leader. For infusing me with the confidence to stand before my teammates, look them in the eye, and say, "it's not over, we can do this."
Thank you for being just as heartbroken about that season-ending loss as the rest of us.
Thank you for making me want to play for you. Sure, I played for myself, and for my family, and for my teammates... But a lot of the time, I played because of you.
Thank you for being the kind of coach that made me want to make you proud.
A good coach can make or break a season, and they can make or break a sport. I wanted to play for you because of who you were as a person, not because of how knowledgeable you were about the sport.
I wanted to play for you and make you proud, so I could look over at the bench or to the dugout after a good play and see your approval and your joy.
Coaching goes beyond the game.
To all of my coaches, and to all of those I watch on a regular basis: Thank you. Your role as coach, teacher, and friend means the world to your players. Take heart. Your actions aren't in vain.
SEE ALSO: To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me