Well folks I have been away for awhile but today will be my first post in a very long while and I hope you enjoy!!
I will always remember this date till I one day go to my resting place…November 5th, 2011. The last game I ever coached on a cool and sunny Saturday afternoon in Findlay, OH at Elmer Graham Soccer Stadium I witnessed my #1 ranked team in Ohio fail to reach their goal of winning a state championship (for a second time in 4 years) in such a dramatic and hard-to-swallow way. I can remember it felt like a bag of bricks fell onto my chest and it was hard to breathe…but the one thing I can take from that day was a young man on that team telling me “this will not define us and we WILL be back” and the following year those men made sure they followed through with that promise and defeated the team who knocked them out of the State tournament the following season to advance to their 3rd State Final Four in school history.
That day on the ride home on the bus, I had put all the blame of that loss on me…I could have done more for them to propel them out of that position but as most coaches or players who have ever been on the soccer field…Soccer can have some very cruel finishes to them and that is how it is. No matter how hard you prepare or play during the match, at the end of the day you may or may not be the victor. For the longest, I put that on my heart that I failed not only my players but other who had a lot of expectation of the team but we all know we win as a program and we all lose as a program.
Before that season I pulled my program captains together and we talked about what we wanted to achieve as a team and then how we were going to get there… and then when our team was assembled I gave every player in their locker the John Wooden “Pyramid of Succes” chart to instill leadership and accountability and playing with a purpose in their mindset.
What made that team a special group was their swagger, work ethic, accountability, doing what was right for the ‘TEAM’, and the most important thing playing for their program they took so much pride in. If one thing they were going to learn from me was learning a life lesson every time they won or lost. High School Sports are not about wins or losses but creating memories and working together to maximize their abilities as a group. Life will have its moments where you wanna throw the towel in and quit…but it is how you pick yourself up and find a way to make it happen for the TEAM and YOU as a individual.
We were put on this earth with a purpose in life!! What is yours? I am still trying to find me but deep down inside I know what it is…and I know what I want to be!!
I challenge young athletes and coaches starting out everywhere to find what their purpose is and find a way to show everyone what it is…don’t be afraid of failure (because there will be some on the road to success), dare to make you dreams come true…do NOT take NO for an answer!! Continue to better and sharpen yourself as a STUDENT-ATHLETE to enjoy bliss down the road.
Play with an edge…Play angry…but always have a PURPOSE!!