A couple weeks ago there was an article written in the news gazette about a former athlete. She transferred to another school after her sophomore year for many different personal reasons. While I was sad to see her and her family go she has thrived in this school very well. I am not bitter about her not representing UHS I can see the big picture. I care about her well being more then a state title and recognition.
When you coach a high school sport especially around here and especially in the sport of swimming it is looked at as a family. I rejoice in victories of athletes not on my team. I gladly help out other coaches when they need help. I cry over trials and losses that occur. Just as others do the same with us . The goal is to build up these student athletes, give them a safe space to thrive, challenge them to be leaders among their peers and push them to do hard things so they know that they can.
I didn’t get into coaching for the money becauselet’s be honest it would never be worth it. I didn’t get into coaching for the fame. If that was the case I wouldn’t be coaching where I do. I got into coaching because of my passion for the sport and for my alma mater. For the athletes that are not given a chance to do new things. For the athletes that have family lives that are beyond imagine and need a place to belong and feel loved. For a chance to step outside of myself and think about someone else.
When articles are written and things are said to tear down my team even if it be unintentional it stings and I get mad. And in turn I question others motivation to coach. I question the integrity of those saying hurtful things and ability to be leaders and examples for their own athletes.
Life is hard and the world is cruel. Let’s focus on giving our youth positive role models and spaces to be taught and grow into strong, confident and caring adults. We live in a time where it is not the place to tear others down and make a status play of who is better or who is inadequate. Let’s love, encourage, accept and advocate for each other y’all.
All that being said I feel like I need to tell you about my team. So who are they and what are they about? Well I can tell you who they are not. They are not the ones always in the spotlight, in the paper being talked about. They are not always state qualifiers or at the top of the “game”. They don’t get credit where credit is due. They don’t get recognized for their hard work or massive improvement from year to year. They don’t get “breaks” in life from their families or rough situations. They don’t get to have the same opportunity that a lot of others do. They are not wealthy or perceived as popular. However my team, my tigers. They are warriors. They are survivors. They are a group of girls that come together for 3.5 months out of the year and become a team. From the highs to the lows these girls are the ones that I get the privilege to coach and mentor. These girls are the ones that end up teaching me more than I teach them. These are the ones that I am willing and honored to fight for every single day. These girls are my team and I am so very proud of them!