“Try your very best, give it your all, have fun, and remember your place in life.” Those were the words of one very meaningful coaches of mine. Those words were brought forth and accepted by some in sports instances and in life.
My Sophomore year I had a Junior Varsity basketball coach that I will never forget. A short little guy he was, with the heart and passion for the game like no one I have seen before. He was very laid back and wanted to make sure we all had fun and had successful lives beyond basketball. He had us fill a little survey out in the beginning of the year asking us questions such as: “Where do you plan to go to college?” “Have a favorite movie?” “Lets test you math skills, whats the cubed root of 27?” Those little questions helped me build a self-confidence in a fellow adult that could not be taken away from me.
We only ended up winning four games that season out of twenty-five. Sure not a team headed towards a State Championship by any means, but the losses were made fun and the wins were just small toppings on the cake of our Sophomore season. This coach played no favorites, rather he would make sure everyone got an equal amount of playing time each game. He would sit there with his little stop watch and keep track of everyone’s playing time, trying to make it as even as possible for each individual. 4-25 doesn’t seem like fun, but I could have not picked out a better experience in my life.
Our coach was a very hard worker in his day as well. He went to Aquinas High School in La Crosse, WI. He was a mear 5 Foot 5 inches at best. He would practice everyday making his moments on the practice court and earning his way through the ranks to a starting Varsity player. I think that’s what we respected most about him, his passion for the game.
Coaching for him was more than an opportunity, it was a chance to build gentlemen out of your average High School boys. If there is one thing we took away from his speeches and addresses it was politeness. He taught us how to treat women with respect, how to tie a decent tie, how to succeed in class and on the court. There was nothing this man couldn’t do. He was our motivator, coach, and ultimately, our best friend.
He was also a very good father figure for his children. He and his wife had a hard time when losing a child at birth. Those were probably some of his hardest times. He wouldn’t talk about it, he would just continue on his routines as normal. We all had feelings for him though that can’t be expressed in words, and we carried him through these times as he carried us throughout our lives. It was the least we could do for a man who shaped us as mature young men.
This ones for you coach. I hope wherever you are today you are living life to the fullest. You have helped made a small part in my life, but a part I will carry and cherish with me at all times.