There's something to be said about experiencing this. It's hard sometimes to literally and figuratively sit on the sidelines and watch your child in any sport.
You find yourself looking to the coaches as well, through the good, the bad and sometimes...the ugly.
This year was different than last. The boys played for another league a year ago, with very different coaches. Two of our boys had a great experience with that league, but our oldest did not. He had a head coach that cared more about winning than about the good of the kids. There was an assistant coach that all but counteracted the head coach's demeanor and he tried to take our son under his wing. It didn't matter. The head coach was crude and often mean spirited, having a negative impact on our son. So much so, that when we told the boys we were signing up with a different league this year, he begged us not to make him play.
He stuck it out though. What he didn't realize, was that this year would turn out to be different. This year the head of the program was more interested in the heart of the players, rather than the execution of the plays. His goal was to shape young men as opposed to winning at all costs. He taught the boys that people in their lives will tell them that they deserve to win but that is a lie. It takes work, dedication and commitment to become winners. This isn't always necessarily demonstrated on the scoreboard, but rather through character and discipline.
The boys have listened and grown from him. Our two younger boys have loved every minute of it and thankfully, our oldest son began to change this season too. In no time, he began to worry less about going to practices and games and began talking more about the plays, his friends and the cool coaches. His expression turned from a look of doubt and fear, to focus and happiness.
The head of the program and our boys' team coaches may never know what they've done with our boys...especially with our oldest...but we do.
They've help build their confidence and have given them wonderful childhood memories of the days of Fall. What a difference a positive influence and genuine compassion can make to a child...as well as for those of us...who sit on the sideline.
So thank you coaches, for caring about our boys. It means more than you'll ever know.