The next nine days will find our players with 2 games tonight, 2 games tomorrow, one game on Mon, Thur and Friday and then for several of them, State Cup next weekend. As I sit here and try to work out rosters for tomorrow because we will have several going to their HS prom, I am wondering about the price our players pay so that they may commit to programs with such intensity and the demands it makes upon their time. Are the rewards, lessons and skills a player takes away from our beloved sport really worth the time, effort and sweat equity we ask them to invest?
I feel that it truly is, the life lessons alone will help push them ahead and provide them with insights that they might not get otherwise. Student athletes must be masters of time management, diplomacy, negotiation, and goal setting just to name a few. Without any of the above, they would find themselves behind either in their studies or in their team dynamics. In the majority of players, we find that what begins as a motivation to remain eligible to play, i.e. grade expectations, soon becomes a habit, what started out as a way to get along with team mates has now become a way of conducting ourselves in our day-to-day relationships. Certainly, these character traits are only refined and sharpened through our interactions within a team dynamic.
All of this was brought home to me one year as I was having a discussion with a school resource officer. In the course of our talk, I mentioned how coaching is a full-time endeavor, that it never ends and at times, feels like such a thankless pursuit, but the rewards are priceless. The RO told me that I would never fully know just how much my time had done for a player that they knew. The RO was familiar with the family dynamics of this player and stated that if it were not for our program engaging the player, keeping them connected to the sport and our personal time commitments to each of the players, the RO felt that things would have taken a very divergent path for this particular player at the taxpayer’s expense. They felt that were it not for our dedication to this players commitment, that player would certainly have found trouble to be a companion.
The price of committment is very little as it turns out but just maybe it pays the highest dividends anyone could ever hope for.
till I see you on the pitch