The other day I was reminded that when I left high school behind, I really left it behind. I was with a fabulous group of women from my former high school and it was pointed out to me how little I remembered about the teachers who were the faces of my classes for four years. I was brought together with a former high school P.E. teacher, and honestly I couldn't have told you she was a P.E. teacher at our school (even though she was the one of only two phys ed teachers at Manhattan High School for all the years I was there).
The only way I remember her is because she was the gymnastics coach. In my sophomore year of high school I tried out for the gymnastics team. Now, any of you who know me realize I don't have the physique or the make up of a gymnast, but at the time I thought I was one. Way back in the day I found out I was dreadfully wrong. I didn't have a clue what it took to make a high school gymnastics' team. I had nothing to bring to the table, but I didn't realize that until the fateful night I got the call from our gymnastics coach. She was very sorry, she said. She had no choice but to cut me from the team I so badly wanted to join. She went on to tell me all of the things I could work on for next year so I could make the team. At that point, though, my brain had shut down. I decided I was done with gymnastics and the woman who coached the team.
I hadn't really thought about her and how she impacted my life until I saw her the other night for the first time since I left high school~ like I said, when I left high school I really left high school. I didn't see any reason to look back. But now I realize how important it is to look back from time to time.
This is one of those times...
Looking back after all of these years I now see what a tremendous heart she had for the kids entrusted to her. And she had one giant set of cajones. She had the courage and bravery to do something I don't see very often in coaches these days. She had the balls to call me herself and apologize to me for cutting me from the team. She went on to give me advice and encouragement on how to make the team the next year. She didn't have to do that. She could have just posted a roster and been done with it. But she didn't. And she has my undying respect for how she handled herself.
I wish all coaches could, and would, have the courage to do this very thing for the kids they coach. I wish more coaches had balls and a heart. I wish all coaches could see that, in the end, these are kids and these are their dreams. They deserve the respect that comes with knowing what they did wrong, and they deserve to be told how to improve. What each child then chooses to do with the coach's words is up to that child. For me, it was a chance to try my hand a golf where I sucked just as badly but made the team anyway. And this was a life lesson for me. The next time I got cut from something, I knew it wasn't the end of the world, and I knew to ask why.
So, Thank You Coach for having such a big heart and an even bigger set of cajones! I hope my kiddos are lucky enough to have more coaches like you in their lives.
Oh, for the love of my children....