You know certain things when you go into coaching. You know you will teach the sport, you know you will lead young men and women into competition and you know there will be the inevitable bumps in the road along the way. But there is one thing I never even considered would be one of the best benefits of coaching; the relationships. Especially in a small town like mine. I have had the joy of meeting, coaching and becoming friends with well over 500 young men and their families over the years. Sometimes I forget this, sometime I don’t appreciate that unexpected gift a coach is given by being allowed to do the things a coach does. Two wedding receptions this summer and seeing many many ex-players in attendance reminded me just how lucky we are/were to be a part of something so special.
It wasn’t always so special, though. I yelled at most of them on many occasions. I lost my temper with most of them at one time or the other. I lost sleep worrying about life decisions they made or were making. I drove them like dogs knowing they needed to get better. There were times they hated me. I know it. I could see it on their faces when I challenged them to improve. But, I also saw their joy when the light went on and they eventually noticed their improvement.
So, thanks boys! Thanks for all the practices, the proms, the road trips, the games, the dinners, the band and vocal concerts. Thanks for the graduation parties, the family functions, for TP-ing the house, for knocking on my front door wearing rubber masks and helping the Hays family move once upon a time ago. Above all, I especially thank you for all those intense summer mornings when, no matter how much you despised it, no matter how hot and miserable it was, you did all the crazy crap your idiot assistant coach asked you to do.