I have always been a team player. I have zero athletic ability, but I was born to be on a team.
When it came to kids picking teams, I was always the last kid picked. I know I was the last pick when it came to my coaches too. But, that didn’t stop me. What I lacked in athletic ability, I made up for in spirit and attitude. I knew at an early age what a privilege it was to be part of a team.
I loved going to practice, wearing the team uniform, working hard and giving it everything I had. I loved the camaraderie, the laughs and inside jokes between teammates. As a substitute player, I saw very little playing time, but that didn’t matter because my role on the team was on the sidelines. In fact, that’s where I developed my leadership skills and I thank every coach I’ve ever had for bringing out the very best in me.
On the sidelines, I learned that every member of the team is invaluable from the MVP to the 12th player. I also learned to recognize, appreciate and acknowledge the gifts and talents of each individual player.
This past weekend, my son’s hockey team placed 2nd out of 66 teams in the state. In the stands, I had time to reflect on the importance of being part of a team. Not only am I grateful as a player, I am grateful as a parent. Coaches volunteer their time, talent and passion in order to build confidence and leadership skills for life. What you learn from a coach defines you for life — your work ethic, attitude, sacrifice, dedication, commitment, and perseverance.
In gratitude, I want to thank coaches everywhere — especially my soccer coach, Mr. Mac, for inspiring me my entire life. What I learned on your field, I have brought into my classroom and my profession.
For my son’s hockey coaches, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the privilege to be a parent in the stands all season. I loved watching you build a foundation for life for each of your players — it is a testimony to your character and has not gone unnoticed.
As I said before every practice and game, “I’ll give you everything I have, coach.” What a gift to have learned this lesson early in life and to have the opportunity to watch my son learn the same lessons.