I'd like to dedicate this blog to some of the greatest people I know. They are called coaches.
In the field of education, sometimes coaches get a bad rap. They are sometimes seen as lesser teachers, but I've got to give a shout out to some of the greatest teachers I know, and they go by the name "Coach".
This topic of "coaches" came up in a conversation just yesterday and I heard it put as well as I've ever heard it done. How many other people do we call by their job? Oh, there is Mr. President and Dr. So and So, but no one refers to me as Teacher Sumrall. You don't hear someone shout out, "Hey Secretary" or "Hi Engineer," but go out just about anywhere in town and when a young person (or one who at least ONCE was young) sees their coach, it's "Hey Coach!" It's a title of honor.
Think about it. Few other people have the impact on a young person's life as does their "coach." While they may have a lot of great teachers through the years, many will have one coach who imparts into their lives for 2, 3, 4, even 5 or more years. I know of at least one coach who has mentored my son for 4 years now, beginning in Jr. High when my son didn't really even know how to tackle. (He's learned since then!) That young man helped develop his talent and looked out for him, always steering my boy in the way he should go...even when he wasn't listening to his mom! Thank you Coach Aycock.
We even chose our current location based on a coach. (That might sound strange coming from a teacher.) I asked around and discovered that while a lot of area coaches were great men, his current coach was described in this way. "Now Coach Wheat, that man builds character in his boys." No more had to be said. I know that football is just a game, but I also know that lessons learned out there on the field can be so much more if used correctly. My son isn't just learning plays, he's learning how to look out for others and be a man of character.
My daughter had a coach for the short time she played basketball in Jr. High and she still refers to her as "Coach." I daresay Coach Missy had no idea the impact she made in my girl's life, but recently I saw a bunch of her former "players" coming together to honor her for being their coach in high school. Every young woman a stronger and better person (and player) thanks to her leadership.
There have been so many over the years who have poured into the lives of my children. Coach Langham had a way of making my daughter believe she could do anything (and was able to put up with her sarcastic wit like few others.) He also coached my son and gave advice that we still use today.
There are so many on the team of coaches that help mentor my son today. These coaches mentor the young men both on and off the field. Coach Bryant has the "joy" of not only teaching Jr. High, but also serving as basketball coach and track coach, traveling miles and miles just to watch our kids run miles and miles. He uses all that time to offer guidance on life, respect, and honor along with the regular coaching duties. (As a mom, I appreciate this SO much!)
I know I'm about to get myself in trouble here by forgetting to mention someone like Coach Cluff or Coach Hankins or Coach Davis or Coach Hestor....all these men are shaping our future.
I had a "coach" in my own life as well. I wasn't very athletic, but when I was in high school, we had a coach who was in charge of FCA. I listened to his guidance over the years and his words shaped me more than he could have ever known. I still think about some of the lessons he taught and it has been almost 40 years since I sat in those lunch time meetings.
Then there is my more recent "coach"....Coach Becky. How can someone look at a 48 year old teacher coming out of the school at the end of the day as see potential? Or maybe it was just pity. Either way, I am so thankful that on that afternoon years ago she invited me to join them for a training run at the track. The inspiration she continues to give helps me keep trying and running has become a big part of my sanity and my connection to others. She helps so many of us see ourselves as more than what we are to what we might be...and helps us learn how to simply enjoy moving, no matter what our age or our speed.
So the next time I catch myself saying, "He's just a coach," I want to remember these individuals are making a difference that few others do. Good coaches are so much more than just a coach. They see our children (and us) at their best and at their worst - emotions are hard to hide when you are giving it all on the field or on the court. They inspire these kids to work as a TEAM, something our country could use more of.
I am so thankful for these men and women that give time away from their own families to pour life and character into mine. You make a difference.
If you have been blessed by coach, feel free to share this post and "tag" them. I know I will.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.