A view from my side.
The high school season is over for most of the players in the state. All of the boys on my club team are done and it is time to regroup. I spoke to the team manager last week and she sent out an email to get the boys together for lunch. We met at Mellow Mushroom, ordered some pizza, drank some sodas and talked about their respective high school seasons.
They all enjoyed their seasons and told stories. I heard about glorious goals being scored. I heard about defenders stopping strikers with slide tackles. I heard about phenomenal assists from midfielders. Our goalie didn’t make it, so I didn’t get to hear about clean sheets and spectacular saves. But what I did hear about, from each and every one of them, was the sheer joy they had playing this spring. One of the players even brought his girl friend to meet the rest of us.
We sat and talked for over 2 hours. The talk moved from their individual seasons to the upcoming club try outs. When are they? Will we train before? Can we play in a tournament at the end of May? It was nice to hear and we talked about the options. We came up with a plan. Try outs. The players we want to try to pick up. Team camp. The tournaments we want to play in this fall. Everyone got up to leave with promises of re-grouping soon for training.
One of the players held back and wanted to talk with me. We sat back down and we talked about things he didn’t want to discuss with the group. He’s having issues with school, his parents and life in general. This is a side of coaching that most people outside athletics don’t see or hear about. Players will come to a coach with all sorts of concerns and questions. Coaches are not their parents by any means, but we are an adult they can come to for help and advice.
Players will talk to us and tell us things they would never tell their parents. Many times what they want to talk to us about IS their parents. That wasn’t the case today, but we did talk about keeping up grades and meeting the expectations of parents, friends and family.
We talked a lot about what it means to be an athlete. We talked about what it means to excel at something. We talked about how you must have the discipline to manage your life: family, school, friends, sports, etc. We talked about how having that discipline makes you a stronger person. We talked about how successful people have those abilities to maintain a balance, get the job done and enjoy it all at the same time. It was a good talk and when he walked away, I told him I would be checking up on him in a few weeks. He smiled, said thanks and we went our way.
Tonight I dined alone at home. It was a wonderful day, sunny and cool, and demanded a meal to compliment it. A quick run to the butcher’s shop for a filet was the order of the day. Arguably the tenderest steak cut you can get, it stands on its own, needing not much more than the kiss of a grill to make it succulent and to bring out the flavor. To my 9 0z filet, I added a baked potato and sauteed some zucchini. Topping it off with a nice Malbec, I was out for around 675 calories.