The Joy of Coaching …. They Are ALL My Kids!
I fully understand why people love to coach. I always understood this concept but what I realized last week after coaching my first high school track meet is that I had the opportunity to care about so many kids. Every time we turned around, someone on our team was running and there was someone to cheer for and encourage. It was a night of nonstop determination and inspiration. Who would not want to be a part of that?
As a parent of teenagers myself ranging from ages 14 to 20, I know the joy and pride of watching my own kids compete in various sports for the past 16 years. Parents ride the ups and downs of the season and feel the emotions of your kids before, during, and after every game or event. It is an incredible gift to watch your own kids compete and grow from the victories and disappointments too.
As I was telling my husband how the track meet went, I delightfully described it as “so much fun because they were ALL my kids” and I had the privilege of supporting all of them. It could just be my perspective, but it is perhaps more meaningful because I have been a parent cheering on my own kids for many years. And now I can share the sport that I love so deeply with kids who genuinely want to learn more about it. It is a privilege to relay my knowledge to these kids, reach their potential and encourage them to be their best. It has been particularly rewarding because I am a runner and I know exactly how they are feeling during these track meets and training sessions because I have done them all myself (well, except for hurdles) for the past 35 years.
The moral of the story is that it is an incredible honor to be a coach and it is in no way a transactional position. The role requires more than being a runner and having scientific knowledge about a sport; although that is important! It is about being human and caring about what is happening all around you. Every kid matters and has goals, hopes, and dreams and it is my job to support that. What is great is the unexpected joy and gratitude I have received in the process, and I can only hope to return that to the kids in the form of support and inspiration. It is this kind of human transaction that is the best kind and it is what makes me want to be the best coach I can possibly be for these kids. They deserve it!