As a former Physical Educator it only makes sense that I would love sports and also be drawn to coaching! Coaching was one of my favorite things to do in each of the different communities I have lived over the years. Your team becomes like a family to you, you get to not only instill physical skills but you also get to impact your athletes on how to do live, how to win and how to lose gracefully. You also get to teach them about how to work together with others to achieve great things for the team..... and great things may not always be a championship...though that is a lot of fun! Great things could be a PR (personal record) improving your win/loss record, or just working better together as a team.
An a high school and college athlete I learned so much about life and teamwork through sports. There are also some great spiritual analogies that we can learn through sports and other teams. Though I love sports and I loved coaching, I have also seen over the past 10 years how sports are changing and how the competitive spirit has gone from healthy to insane! I have seen a dark side of parents who think their child should be number one at whatever sport they do. I have seen people act as though little league baseball is the National World Series for paid professionals.... it makes me sad that we have somehow taken the joy of play out of sports.
Due to my MS, I haven't coached in several years (it's that whole depth perception thing).... but I have many great memories from over the years in a variety of sports that I have coached.... some of which I had played in high school or college, and some of which I had never played before, but hey some of the best coaches are not always the best athletes at those sports... they just know the game well. I can't say that the sports I didn't play I knew well.... in fact I didn't know them well and I had to work extra hard to learn the sport as well as coach my team.... Thankfully I wasn't the head coach (at least at first).
In high school - I played Tennis, Basketball, and did Track & Field. In college, I played Tennis and helped with the Basketball team. So of all the sports, these are the ones that I know the best! However, my first year of teaching the first two teams that I coached in Clearfield were volleyball and softball..... I just laugh thinking about it. They were in need of coaches and since I was there new Phys. Ed. teacher they asked me if I would and so I did because they were both JV positions. It was a bit rough I am not going to lie.... I really knew nothing other than how to teach basic skills and rotations in volleyball (I only coached one year until they found someone who was skilled) Softball I knew a bit more because I had played baseball when I was younger (10 years before coaching) but as the assistant I was able to learn enough to at least keep them team going when the other coach resigned. I didn't really love the sport... but I loved the girls and it was fun to be a part of a team that did so well.
At Clearfield I also was an Assistant Basketball Coach to a team of girls that were awesome! We had so much fun together. Being the only female coach I was also a team mom. I did the first aid, helped solve the team drama (which is always there when you coach girls and sometimes boys as well). I did pre-game chats with the girls in the locker room.... as each game they would sing the Hanukkah Song by Adam Sandler and then ask each other who was going to pray.... and then it was always me that they wanted to do it. They also quoted Happy Gilmore daily! I loved working with those girls. I also had the privilege of being the Head Girls Tennis Coach. Though their wasn't really any feeder programs the girls did well and I was very proud of their accomplishments. We had a great time together, laughing and joking....I have so many memories with those girls!
In Lewisburg, though I wasn't a teacher, I still had the great privilege of coaching. I coached at the Jr. High girls basketball level - of which my girls had so much fun learning new words.... such as atrocious! Then I also was able to coach at the Varsity Level - once again being part of a team that went to States (don't think it had anything to do with me, we just had hard working talented girls on both teams). I also had the opportunity to do two coaching firsts for me while in Lewisburg.... I coached Lacrosse (which I knew nothing about - though I was good at braiding their hair, doing agility drills and first aid) and I got to coach Boy's tennis.... (I had never coached a boy's team before) Being able to beat many of them on the courts helped them realize I knew what I was talking about. We had our share of highs and lows but as a whole our team did very well and made several district appearances. The funny thing is that I remember the things that were not tennis related.... like when a few said boys put a figurine out the bus window thinking they were Napoleon Dynamite.... and a few other things that I won't mention since they have all grown up now.
Taking time to write about Coaching has filled my heart this morning! I miss those coaching days, but I miss more the relationships I had with my student athletes, the comradery of the team, and celebrations we shared together. Thanks for all the great memories! If you have a fun memories or pictures to share I would love to hear from you.... it would be a great 40th gift to me!