My wife and I went today to watch a girl that I had coached in high school soccer, play college basketball. She is a great athlete, but more importantly she is a great worker. I remember when she reported to us in August of her senior year, she was a different player. She finished first in every running drill and her touch on the ball was exceptional. She had dedicated herself during the spring to become the player she wanted to be. Soccer wasn't her first sport. She played because she was a jock and loved sports. She was obviously an exceptional basketball player. Her first three years, she was a decent soccer player. Nothing exceptional, just solid.
I talked to her in our after season meeting and challenged her to become a good soccer player. The head coach, who was also at the meeting, told me that I may have laid it on too thick. I have a tendency toward bluntness. I remember that our player assured me she would work, but I didn't think it would really happen. After all, her future was in basketball. She stared me in the face and I remember her saying I'll be better next year. I used my daughter as an example. She was the best soccer player ever at her high school. She is still the only player to receive a Division I soccer scholarship. And she graduated in 1998. She was one step from the national team.
When our player came back I was stunned. She was a very good soccer player. I had told her that my daughter had made herself a great soccer player, by working everyday with the ball. The back of my house is proof that she did. Every screen on the windows and the globes on the porch lights had been bent or broken. Our player had done the same, as her parents could attest.
What was cool was that our player had taken my advice to heart and decided that she would be the best player she could be. I think she learned a life lesson which is much more important than a sports lesson. She has achieved her dream. How cool is that? I talked to her after the game today for a long time. She was disappointed that they had lost, but we talked about what it would take for them to be winners. They had after all, won a tournament just last week. They are a good team who played badly today. After the game, her father told her to talk to me first. I was stunned because I thought he was one of those fathers. She is a great kid and more importantly, she listens to her coaches.
We had a great converstion about basketball, life and other stuff. Many times I've questioned why I coach and put up with the jerk-off parents. I've always hoped there was a higher purpose to what I did. TODAY THERE WAS. I'm good to go for another season. She doesn't know what she did for me today. I hope I did something for her today, too.