Remember the end of high school? You were relieved the work was done, but you also had that instant feeling of something missing? At the end of every season, that's how I feel. A sigh of relief. And then a frown because you'll miss being a part of something. You'll miss the fun, and you'll miss the friends.
This time is a little sadder for me. Some of these kids have been on my team for two and three seasons. Next year they'll move up a division because of their ages. If Adrian and I decide to just continue to coach the same division at the YMCA, we won't get to keep working with those kids, and that makes me sad. I get attached to certain players. The ones who have such extraordinary potential to be great. Not just in the sport, but in life. I want to see how they grow up and who they become. I've grown to believe in them. I want to watch my belief be proved right. Does this make sense? Sometimes clarity is not my greatest strength.
My first thought is to wonder how I will be able to 'let go' of my own children when it isn't easy to let go of another's. Then it occurs to me that I will never have to let go of my kids this way. I'll never have to see them off wondering if I'll ever hear from them again. Granted, things like being sent to war may warrant such a question, but I mean in the sense that they won't be strangers. I will be able to follow their lives. I will see their success, and their failures. All the while believing in them. In fact, I actually look forward to sending them off into the world, mighty warriors they will be. I have such vision for my family. We will have great times together during 'practice' but the whole reason for practice is to be ready for the game. It's always exciting to me to watch my team go out and put to use all the lessons they've learned. I love it when one of them shows off some fancy footwork! It's the greatest when they score a goal after trying so hard and then they turn and look at the side lines for approval, "Did you see me Coach? I did it!" Priceless.
I've learned much this season and I've got some great memories to go with those lessons. Below is a photo of the prestigious plaque the Icebreakers presented me with. A lovely thank you and the signature of each spirited player. It will serve as a reminder of this spring. The photo above is the necklace Adrian and I gave to each player. Of course, we each have our own, too! I hope it will bring back wonderful memories to each kid for years to come. I know it will do that for me. One of my favorite pieces of neck wear is a simple basketball bead on a ball chain necklace that I got during 8th grade basketball. As I wonder what exactly it is I like about it so much, I fail to recall any real specific details about the season, but I know it affected me. My coach influenced me to believe in myself. He made it clear, that if we didn't believe in ourselves, we would never find success. The only one who can bring me down - is me.
I seem to have rambled a bit and just sorta regurgitated various thoughts without much order, but I wanted to share. All I have left to say, is that if you ever get the chance or opportunity to coach or mentor young people in any facet, please, PLEASE do it. If not for their sake, for your own.