Sports. Who doesn’t love them? Growing up a multi-sport athlete, I have learned all too well how to eat, sleep and breathe sports. From the 5 a.m. alarm clocks for tournament games, to the plethora of trophies lining the shelves of my bedroom, sports have always played a major role in my life and the lives of many others.
No matter the sport -- whether it be football, gymnastics, tennis, hockey or soccer -- fans make their way to the games to watch and support the athletes. Maybe it is a father watching his young daughter play soccer in an intramural league, or a group of friends spending their evening at an NBA game, the fans go to support the athletes. Of course being supported and admired is a humbling feeling, but what about paying more attention to the coaches? In reality, they are the ones who deserve credit for "creating" these athletes we all love to watch.
Beginning an athletic journey at age four and continuing to this day in college, my coaches and the coaches of other athletes deserve a sincere recognition for everything they have done to successfully develop athletes. To all of the coaches whom have not only coached athletes on a playing field, but also supported their athletes as vulnerable individuals in the real world, we thank you.
Thank you for sacrificing your time at the dinner table with your family in order to make it to practice like the rest of us.
Thank you for pushing us outside of our comfort zones in order to show us that sometimes, our comfort zones are hurting us and the athletes we have the potential to become.
Thank you for forcing us to be team players and truly understand the importance of trusting one another, both on and off the field.
Thank you for yelling at us when we deserved to be yelled at in order to get us to push harder.
Thank you for allowing us to get frustrated and learn how to deal with aggravation in a classy way (aka allowing us to curse but never throw equipment).
Thank you for teaching us how to turn our failures into learning opportunities that would allow us to improve.
Thank you for teaching us that blood is nothing more than a battle wound.
Thank you for counting on us even when we were not sure we could count on ourselves.
Thank you for pulling us aside and asking us if everything is okay when we seemed off or unfocused- it really showed us that you cared about our well-beings outside of the athletic world.
Thank you for never giving up on us even when our inappropriate attitudes deserved us a seat on the bench.
Thank you for pounding confidence into us and omitting the word ‘can’t’ from the English vocabulary.
Thank you for making us repeat drills over and over and over until we perfected them because only perfect practice makes perfect.
Thank you for pushing us to our limits, yet always knowing our breaking points and respecting them.
Thank you for not scolding at us when we did wrong, but instead showing us how to make it right for next time.
Thank you for conditioning us against our will in order to make sure our bodies were prepared for the season to come.
Thank you for teaching us how to compete and hold a competitive mindset, but never allowing us to be sore losers.
Thank you for showing us that we WILL fall down seven times, and we WILL stand up eight.
Thank you for sticking up for our team against bad calls from referees or inappropriate shouts from opposing teams.
Thank you for setting your alarm clock at 4 a.m. when we set ours for 5 a.m.
Thank you for the post-game snacks and juice pouches because that’s what kept hooked me on being an athlete.
I now understand that the hundreds of sideline suicides, foul shouts, heavy squats, T-30s, boards, pull-ups, ladders, tackles, pitches, handstands, throw-ins, you name it, were not only forced upon us to improve us for our future selves, but also to prove to our current selves that we are good enough. I used to blame sports for the scars on my face and calluses on my hands, but now I thank my coaches for each and every injury marking that now has a story for me to tell. I am grateful for the times you pushed me outside of my comfort zone causing me to strike out, fail a squat, get disqualified, split the balance beam, or receive a yellow card because all of these instances made me a stronger, better athlete.
Thank you to all of my coaches, and all of the coaches out there whom dedicate themselves, their time, and their knowledge to athletes around the world. Not every coach is a good coach, but the handful of good ones have our utmost respect. Not only have you impacted us in the sports world, but you have strongly affected our lives to make us the people we are today; we are funny, kind, hardworking, committed, driven, competitive, bruised, successful, motivated and most of all ... we are thankful for our coaches.