“Coach”— the word still makes my head tingle with pride. Any title that designates a heightened level of respect, and achievement would do the same: Doctor, Ambassador, Senator, Governor, Captain. But to
me, Coach, surpasses them all. It is a coach who helps people become their best.
A coach is mentor, friend, disciplinarian, taskmaster, therapist and confidant. Coach is a brother/sister, father/mother, and educator. For many of those who play sports, Coach is someone who shapes and influences their lives, for better or for worse. It is an awesome responsibility, and I have cherished it from the moment I was first chosen to lead.
How did I find myself on such a path? I can only look to those who affected my life, with selfless compassion and commitment of their time. It was my mentors who led me here, however unwitting that may have been.
Here is what I believe: To help others, you must also learn to recognize and accept help when it is needed.
The African philosophy of Ubuntu says that my humanity rests on my ability to recognize the humanity of others. Coaches help people fulfill their potential and in doing so they see themselves. I was once that little boy, juggling the ball on his boot.
Times have changed. As I reflect upon my experiences, I sometimes wonder what will become of Coach in this culture of headphone and cellphone isolation.
I know that there are good young coaches out there; I helped produce some of them. And I am sure that they will find a way to reach the next generation of players. The reward will be what my reward has always been. Just call me Coach!