A few days ago, a good friend of mine, Bill, sent me this cute little story, written by John Killinger, that I thought would be something fun to share. Even though it is a funny story, it does demonstrate the unfortunate instances when certain individuals take the fun out of a game because of anger and frustration. Hopefully, it will serve as a motivation to people how NOT to act towards others when things do not work out the way that they desire.
A little while ago, the manager of a minor league baseball team got so frustrated with his center fielder’s performance that he jerked him out of the game and decided to play the position himself. He was determined to show his player how simple it really was to play this position. The first hard-hit ball that came to the manager took a bad hop and smashed into his mouth. A short time later, he had his second chance. The next play was a high fly ball that he lost in the sun—until it smacked him in the forehead. Then, for his last opportunity, a ball that came his way was a hard line-drive that flew between his hands and popped him right in the eye.
Furious, he ran off the field to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the shirt and shouted, “You’ve got center field so messed up, even I can’t play it!”
I hope you enjoyed this story. If you have any kind of motivational, inspirational, or heartwarming short stories, please don’t hesitate to send them to me and I will re-post them and credit you!
I have been a coach of many sports on all levels for 30 years. For most o those years, I coached three sports a season in a row. People used to ask me, “how can you do that?” “How do you find the energy to be able to coach so much? spend so much time with players and not get tired of it?”
Well, world famous author, Mark Twain, once said this, “If you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.” This quote is one of my favorite of all time because it is so true. I have truly enjoyed every season that I have coached my players.
Besides the joys of victory and the agony of defeat of the games on the field, it’s the everyday coaching, teaching, and building relationships with people on a daily basis, that makes the job so rewarding. There is nothing that means more to me than when a player (or parent) tells you how much they learned the sport, enjoyed their experience, or other things that may have touched their lives.
I recently came across the following “Letter to a Coach” on FaceBook that I thought would give you a glimpse of what players sometimes say to a coach and illustrate why the profession of coaching is so fulfilling.
~ Coach Muller
Since I have graduated high school there is one phrase that I miss saying more than I ever thought I would. “Hey Coach” left my lips at least once a day. Anyone who has ever had a coach knows just how important they are. I’m sure everyone will say that their coach is the best. But this post is not about the coaches you’ve had. This is about mine. If I wrote just how much one person has changed my life, this post would be unreasonably long. But it is crazy to me that one person can do so much.
What makes a good coach? Well, don’t ask me! I’m a little too picky, grumpy, and “my way or the highway”.
What makes a good coach? My coach. My coach has pushed me to success, and pushed me to tears. My coach has been a parent figure when times got tough, my best friend when we could celebrate our wins, and a shoulder to literally cry on. When we succeeded my coach succeeded. When we failed we knew we let coach down. But that never stopped coach from loving us.
What makes a good coach? Compassion. I never doubted the love coach had for me. Not one day went by without my coach showing, or telling me how much I was appreciated.
What makes a good coach? Coaches leave their family, and dedicate their time to the people and the sport they love, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it. Missing vacations, birthdays, and so much more, to give their time and love to us, even when we are ungrateful.
What makes a good coach? Everything my coach was, and everything I will be because of it. One single person can change your life. And I know my coach changed my life for the best.
I’m trying to be like my coach. Hard, yet soft, harsh but loving, a rock, a shoulder to cry on.
I don’t know how to even thank someone, who has done what they have done for me. I know I will never be able to repay coach for the things done.
If you had a coach who changed you, please, go thank them. If you have a coach now. Go now,and thank them.
You don’t know how much they sacrifice for you, and for your team. I love you coach. I love you for pushing me, I love you for accepting me, I love you for caring about me without fail. I love you for still caring even when new team mates have taken my place. I love you for being you.
I came across this great story a while ago which perfectly illustrates the life and mindset of a coach. I have been a coach for 30 years and I think this tale hits the subject right on the head. I hope that it inspires you as much as it did for me.
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, tried to explain the problem with college athletics. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to be a coach?”
He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about coaches: “Those who can’t play, are those who coach.” To stress his point he said to another guest, “You’re a coach, be honest. What do you make?”
Having a reputation for honesty and frankness, the guest replied, (At this moment Coach Ridder was FIRED up and getting after it!) “You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids run through 90 minutes of practice and sweat. I make kids turn dreams into reality.”
“You want to know what I make?”
I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them cooperate.
I make them competitive and respectful.
I make them show all their work in front of hostile crowds and perfect their acts of sportsmanship.
I make them understand that if you have the will to follow your dreams, should anybody try to judge you by a mistake you made you must pay no attention because you tried and gave it your all.”
“I make teams from individuals who work together to build success.”
He paused and continued. “You want to know what I make?” I MAKE A DIFFERENCE, I MAKE LEADERS, I MAKE OTHER PROFESSIONS POSSIBLE.”
As most of you know (or don’t know), I am a teacher and coach. I have been doing both for 28 years now and I have loved every second of it. I really enjoy teaching my students in an atmosphere where they can have loads of fun, learn concepts, exercise and get rid if some stress.
The most annoying thing about things about my job are the meetings, political decisions and other stuff but honestly, just about every other workplace has the same thing going on. Just give me my kids and my gym or field…and I am happier than a meadowlark!
One of the great joys of teaching and the most fulfilling, is knowing that I a making an impact on some child’s life…one that they will never forget and use it throughout their lifetimes. That’s why, when I read on my friend’s site, “Pursuit of A Joyful Life”, the following letter…it reminded me of why I enjoy and love the jobs that I do!
“Dear Young Teacher Down the Hall,
I saw you as you rushed past me in the lunch room. Urgent. In a hurry to catch a bite before the final bell would ring calling all the students back inside. I noticed that your eyes showed tension. There were faint creases in your forehead. And I asked you how your day was going and you sighed.
“Oh, fine,” you replied.
But I knew it was anything but fine. I noticed that the stress was getting to you. I could tell that the pressure was rising. And I looked at you and made an intentional decision to stop you right then and there. To ask you how things were really going. Was it that I saw in you a glimpse of myself that made me take the moment?
You told me how busy you were, how much there was to do. How little time there was to get it all done. I listened. And then I told you this:
I told you to remember that at the end of the day, it’s not about the lesson plan. It’s not about the fancy stuff we teachers make — the crafts we do, the stories we read, the papers we laminate. No, that’s not really it. That’s not what matters most.
And as I looked at you there wearing all that worry under all that strain, I said it’s about being there for your kids. Because at the end of the day, most students won’t remember what amazing lesson plans you’ve created. They won’t remember how organized your bulletin boards are. How straight and neat are the desk rows.
No, they’ll not remember that amazing decor you’ve designed.
But they will remember you.
Your kindness. Your empathy. Your care and concern. They’ll remember that you took the time to listen. That you stopped to ask them how they were. How they really were. They’ll remember the personal stories you tell about your life: your home, your pets, your kids. They’ll remember your laugh. They’ll remember that you sat and talked with them while they ate their lunch.
Because at the end of the day, what really matters is YOU. What matters to those kids that sit before you in those little chairs, legs pressed up tight under tables oft too small- what matters to them is you.
You are that difference in their lives.
And when I looked at you then with tears in your eyes, emotions rising to the surface and I told you gently to stop trying so hard- I also reminded you that your own expectations were partly where the stress stemmed. For we who truly care are often far harder on ourselves than our students are willing to be. Because we who truly care are often our own worst enemy. We mentally beat ourselves up for trivial failures. We tell ourselves we’re not enough. We compare ourselves to others. We work ourselves to the bone in the hopes of achieving the perfect lesson plan. The most dynamic activities. The most engaging lecture. The brightest, fanciest furnishings.
Because we want our students to think we’re the very best at what we do and we believe that this status of excellence is achieved merely by doing. But we forget- and often. Excellence is more readily attained by being.
And of all the students I know who have lauded teachers with the laurels of the highest acclaim, those students have said of those teachers that they cared.
You see, kids can see through to the truth of the matter. And while the flashy stuff can entertain them for a while, it’s the steady constance of empathy that keeps them connected to us. It’s the relationships we build with them. It’s the time we invest. It’s all the little ways we stop and show concern. It’s the love we share with them: of learning. Of life. And most importantly, of people.
And while we continually strive for excellence in our profession as these days of fiscal restraint and heavy top-down demands keep coming at us- relentless and quick. We need to stay the course. For ourselves and for our students. Because it’s the human touch that really matters.
It’s you, their teacher, that really matters.
So go back to your class and really take a look. See past the behaviors, the issues and the concerns, pressing as they might be. Look beyond the stack of papers on your desk, the line of emails in your queue. Look further than the classrooms of seasoned teachers down the hall. Look. And you will see that it’s there- right inside you. The ability to make an impact. The chance of a lifetime to make a difference in a child’s life. And you can do this now.
Right where you are, just as you are.
Because all you are right now is all you ever need to be for them today. And who you are tomorrow will depend much on who and what you decide to be today.