From a very young age, sports have played a large role in my life. Whether it was watching professional sports on TV, playing them myself, or cheering on my siblings from the sidelines, I always remember the idea of sports giving me a sense of joy. However, I must say I got the most joy when I was actually playing sports myself. Whether it was the adrenaline rushing through me before the start of a game, or even just the social aspect with my friends, I found myself in a much happier state of mind after each game or practice. None of this happiness would have been possible without the amazing coaches I had by my side every step of the way. You taught me to be passionate, to fight, and to play each and every game with everything I had. So, to those coaches, most of whom were just parent volunteers, thank you. This letter is for you.
Thank You For Teaching Me to Never Give Up
There were points when, regardless of the sport, I didn’t want to play anymore. I was tired of long practices, missing out on my social life, and having to attend mandatory meetings or other exercise events. But I remember my coaches telling me how important it was to be involved with organized sports. It kept us all out of trouble and allowed us to have an outlet for whatever anger or sadness we had built up inside. They continuously pushed my teammates and me to run that little bit faster on the field, take a few extra strides on the ice, or just to keep trying to perfect that one skill we were a little weak on. I couldn’t be happier that throughout my childhood, I didn’t give up on sports. To this day, I continue to push myself with the same motivation that they once gave me.
Thank You For Pushing Me to Be the Best Person I Could Be
Although my coaches were there to teach me how to play a sport, how to do well, and how to work as a team, that wasn’t the only aspect they were there for. Whether you were on a sports team for one year or ten years, your coaches learn more about you than you think they know. They know what you’re good at, they know what position you like to play, they know what your favourite ice cream place to go to after practice is, and they even know all of the drama, especially when it comes to high school. With all of this information, my coaches were soon able to help push me to be the best person I could be. They were always great examples of the type of person I wanted to be when I grew up. They showed me that in life, you can gain more happiness in something that has no material wealth. That if you help others, life is a full circle, and in a time of need, others will help you too. They helped show me the skills I have, and with these, how I could make a better person of myself. To this day, I still take lessons they told me years ago, and apply them when needed. These are lessons that I will cherish forever, as without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Thank You For Putting Up With My Sassy Teenage Attitude
This is a biggie. Once September of grade 9 started, my sports teams were full of hormonal girls. We all had attitudes bigger than the moon and thought that our opinions were right ALL the time. To make your coaching that much harder, we started making cliques. Oh boy, looking back to these days, I sure feel bad for my coaches. But the thing is, you never left. You stuck by our sides, coached us not only in the sport you were supposed to but also with any life advice we may have needed. The thing is, you could have quit on us there. Asked someone else to step in, or even let us walk all over you. But you didn’t, and that’s what made us respect and look up to you that much more. You raised your voice when you had to, you pushed us that much harder at practice, you gave us the “look” when we showed up to early morning games hungover, but not one of those things made you a bad coach. It actually made you a better coach, as it made us respect you more, made us look up to you as a person, as someone for advice, and someone for comforting when times got tough. We may have despised you in the moment, as playing a game hungover may have been the worst feeling ever. However, looking back at it now, I am forever grateful that I had the coaches I did and learned the lessons I did from them.
Thank You For Understanding That Sometimes Homework (Or Just a Night Off From Practice) Is What I Needed
As I got older, and the workload from school piled on, it was hard to add in an extra 4 hours of practice during the week, not to mention a game or even a tournament on the weekend. I was scared to tell my coaches I was going to miss a practice. I didn’t want to disappoint them, and I didn’t want them to think that I wasn’t committed to the team because trust me, I was. Even if it wasn’t homework, and I just needed a break from that sport, or from that group of people, my coaches always understood. Your mental and physical health is more important than anything, so if a night off from the particular sport would help that, then so be it. I am so grateful that I ended up with coaches who were so understanding about this, it really made me enjoy that sport so much more.
Thank You For Committing to Every Game and Practice
The majority of coaches I have had were parent volunteers. Ones who had full-time jobs, and other children to look after. Yet they still made time to show up to all of our practices, games, and tournaments, and did so prepared and with a smile on their face. Coaching is one of the most amazing ways to volunteer, especially if you’re passionate about the sport. However, it is a large commitment, and for someone to do so open-heartedly and without hesitation is really something admirable. I’ve had coaches who prioritized our team over other aspects of life, and when you have coaches who do so, it really pays off in the cohesiveness of a team.
Thank You For Being a Parent Figure to Everyone On the Team
When the going gets tough, our coaches were always there for us on a parental level. It was easy for us to look up to them as a parent figure and go to them when we needed advice, or just someone to comfort us during life’s hard moments. My dad was my coach for many, many years, so this one didn’t apply to me all the time. However, I watched him give my friends advice on many different occasions, and I know that the advice he gave them really helped them get through tough times. I hope they still look back on it today and use it when life throws them yet another curveball.
Most Importantly, Thank You For Being You
Whether you had a bad day at work, whether you were feeling a bit sick, or whether you were just having an off day, thank you for coming to each and every practice with a smile on your face. Thank you for teaching us with passion, and not only teaching us the sport you came to do but for teaching us that life is a lot more valuable than what it may seem like in the present moment. Thank you for spending your weekends with us at away tournaments, thank you for getting ice cream with us after games, thank you for being you, and finally, thank you for making sports one of my best childhood memories. I really can’t thank you enough.
And thank you to my dad, a man who coached my soccer team for 10+ years. The biggest thank you goes to you.