Volleyball is a big time sport for high school girls in In San Bernardino, California. No short of five competitive city leagues struggle for top ranking and college recruiting in the area from local sports affiliated colleges offering scholarships. In the midst of the heat and competition I remember an exceptional coach that helped me greatly. Team sports build character and no one leads this growth more than the coach.
Coach Heatley offered her players more than just a chance to improve physically. Our Coyote team collectively was not heavily favored in our league. We were undersized and lacked motivation. Our coach understood that chemistry and group awareness were the only saving graces that would potentially boost our team for a run at playoffs.
She offered each one of us into her home for family meals which was a treat few team members could have on their own. We were allowed to sit together in classes that we shared because our coach made arrangements with each teacher to gain time and cohesive bonds with each other. She even financed dinners and movies for us each to improve our relationships and appreciations for each other.
When it came to practice her experience and expertise from state tournament experience shown through and highlighted the finer points of the game and the best strategies for exploiting weaknesses of our opponents from week to week. As each month passed the victories stalked up and our confidence soared. We found something to commit to in a time where college acceptance rates and competition made success on the volleyball court the best shot at a further education.
We found victory on the court and in life in large part due to Coach Heatley. She motivated us through gentle authority and guidance with understanding. We won our league, but more importantly we found value in ourselves.