I was going to try to postpone writing this post for a few days. To give myself time to reflect and process the new reality of change. I am overcome with sadness. Not the bone shattering heart stopping kind, and of course, there are worse things out there than the news that I received this week.
I coach in the Fall for a lovely all girls High School. I have coached there for 11 years now, not that I feel old enough to have done anything for 11 years. It was my first coaching postion, given to me by my own dear high school coach who had hopes of me turning into something useful on the bench. Good thing he had vision. It took a few years.
I remember the day before my very first game as a coach, he struggled to find the words to say...don't expect to win tomorrow. I remember being almost offended. Almost. At this point I knew him well enough to know he didn't babble out meaningless words the way that some people do, talking just to fill space. And sure enough, we were awful. There were many years of awful. In the beginning, I did not know how much I did not know.
And so followed 11 years of ...not perfection, less than perfect but close. The girls are almost all of them wonderful kids. However, some, more coordinated than others. Some years, due to low turnouts, I am coaching kids that should not nor could not play for any team any place. The down side is, my teams were frequently less skilled than our competitors. The upside, by the end of the 4 years of their high school careers, if they stuck with it, we had kids who had to fight for every ounce of athleticism they got and it showed on the court. It meant more because they had worked so incredibly hard physically and mentally.
Every kid was not unique but there are groups of them that stand out and some individuals too. Some parents of those girls will sometimes read this blog and to them I will say...I wish you'd had more girls b/c I loved coaching the ones I got. That your girls are unbelievably special and in 30 years I will still look back at coaching them as one of my great privileges.
So what's so special? Well, I love the kids, really, they are great year after year. The parents too, believe it or not. I love coaching with my Varsity counterpart who is a great friend and mentor. And I love the AD, Chris Belmont, that we work with. I am old enough to understand how rare it is to have all those things combined at the same time. The school has a wonderful atmosphere of family.
At least, as far as I was able, I can say I understood its uniqueness in time. That I could, to some extent, see that other schools did not have what we had. The intangible things that you cannot replicate with any amount of drills and procedure.
Years ago, Wayne and I were part of a small group Bible Study. We were all 20 somethings and none of us had kids(I'm just impressed I can remember back that far). It was led by our Pastor who now pastors at Pearce Memorial in Chili. We enjoyed the study and the people and as life progressed and babies came, the group inevitably shifted and changed and then dissolved. Now, looking back, I can see how special that core group was. How it would be almost impossible to duplicate it again at this stage in our lives. But back then, we could not possibly have known how unique our relationships were. This end of Nazareth Academy is like that in some ways. Not all, but some.
I will take a few days to be sad. I will go to their BB game on Friday and commiserate with the parents, kids, and alumni. I will try without success, not to cry in public(something I cannot stand doing!). I had hopes of sending our girls to the High school in their own time but, what's that they say about best laid plans?
It is too soon to say where I will coach next year, only to say that I would still like to be coaching.