When I agreed to start coaching back in August, I did it for two simple reasons:
1. I didn’t feel like I had enough balance in my life so I wanted another commitment.
2. I love cheerleading.
That was all. I interviewed, got an offer, and despite the 30 minute commute from my job to the school, I really had no reason to turn it down. A week later I was thrown into a whirlwind of an experience that I am still in awe of.
My girls had their second competition of the season today, nailed their performance and earned 1st place in their division. But there were two more parts of the day that stood out to me much more.
First, on top of taking 1st in their division, they also earned the Spirit Award for the entire competition. To me, that award is always such a reflection of the type of character that a team and its program has and means more to me than anything else. I couldn’t help but tell them over and over how proud I was of them for that.
The next part of my day took me completely by surprise, and made all of the long hours and exhaustion worth it. One of my girls came up to me before they performed and handed me a small envelope that said “coach” on the front.
“Don’t read it until you get home, though, otherwise i’ll feel so awkward!” she said. Thinking it was probably a funny picture or something quirky, I put it in my bag and carried on with our busy day.
When I was back home unpacking my things, I took it out and decided to open it. In the envelope was a lengthy letter this girl had written to me.
She thanked me for everything I had done for her and the team so far this season and that cheerleading was her escape from all of the negativity and personal problems she was going through (which I won’t list here, but are very heavy for a 14 year old to have to deal with.) She noted how appreciative she was of the time that I put in and that I was the best coach she ever had. She told me that I was her role model. Completely beside myself, I sat down on my bed and cried.
Sometimes we can’t see that where we are in our lives right now is the best place for us. It was that letter that assured me I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, coaching these girls and living a hectic yet incredibly balanced life.
I guess we never really know the impact we’re making on the people we interact with. We don’t always get recognized for the positive differences that we make. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep striving to make them.
Sometimes the best we can do is thank those who have taken the time to make a positive impact in our own lives, and fight like hell to try and live a life that someone may thank us for later on.