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Calli’s Corner: Thank you coaches

by Calli Newberry

Over the last three months, I’ve met so many different coaches, from Little League to high school varsity, some who are in their first year and others in their 23rd, and they all have one thing in common: passion.

Passion for the sport, passion for the kids, passion for the community, they are some of the most passionate people I know. 

And let me tell you, the definition of the word “coach” does not suit them at all. I just looked it up and found out that it is, “one who instructs or trains.” 

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Anyone who’s ever been a coach, been coached, or even been in the family of a coach knows that the instructing and training portion of their job is only a fraction of what they actually do. There is so much more to this five-lettered title.

I’ve had a lot of coaches over the years and I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad one, and for that I am incredibly grateful. They’ve pushed me beyond my limits, physically and mentally, and made me stronger. They gave me opportunities to do fun and cool things with my teammates, whether it was a trip for a meet or a team dinner. They allowed and helped me to do something that I can look back on with pride. 

None of my coaches only worked during the two or three hours we were at practice either. They spent countless more at home or an office or a gym preparing and becoming better themselves so that we as athletes could be better. 

I always knew that they did that, but now that I’m on the other side and no longer an athlete, I see how much time and effort and sacrifices it really takes to do what a coach does. 

So often coaches are kind enough to talk to me on the phone in between classes on their prep or while they’re driving home from practice or making dinner for their kids. I’m learning just how busy their lives are. I found out last week that one coach works nights so that he can coach and be available during the day. That’s sacrifice. They’re making it work. 

And then I see their families at the games and meets and matches. Proud football wives are corralling kids on the sidelines as they try to get closer to their dads and cheering on their teams. Some of the coaches who are moms, and dads too, will have a kid or two in their arms when I talk with them.

And some coaches only got into the sport because their kids wanted to play and they fell in love with the game and it became something they got to do together. And even long after their kids graduated, they’re still involved because they can’t get enough. 

They become so invested. They care about the program as a whole. They’re not just teaching and instructing a player to do a skill, they’re leading them to become better people. 

Coaches are important people and they’re doing really important work. It can be easy to get frustrated with them when the team isn’t seeing success, for not calling that play or putting in that player, for putting someone at No. 3 when they should be No. 1, for using that word instead of a kinder one.

Coaches are human. They usually have another job, or maybe even two. They have families and people they go home to and take care of. Sometimes we take them and the work they do for granted. 

The world of athletics is a weird thing in that it’s fun and games, but at the same time, it can become one of the most important parts of our lives and even our communities. Just think about how important last week’s Crosstown Showdown was. 

Coaches are the leaders of this important thing and they’re trying their best. As I’ve learned, they’ve got a lot going on and a lot of people depending on them. 

Let’s give them the credit they deserve and thank a coach this week.

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