June 14, 2013
On the highway outside my office window last week, there was a traffic accident that involved two 2012 graduates of a mid-Michigan high school. One was killed, the other appears to be recovering from serious injuries. The young men had been on their way to work.
The next morning’s newspaper coverage – in the news section, not the sports pages – revolved around the boys’ high school football coach. He told the reporter about his former players’ character and their dreams, and what a difficult day he had spent with their families. Later, local television stations made this coach their go-to person for updates.
This plays out so often: a family faces a crisis, and a coach is quickly on the scene. The best part of coaching – close and even lifelong relationships with players – becomes the toughest – being physically present when those players or their families need support.
It has played out so often in my experience that I can’t imagine what is lost in our schools as interscholastic coaching positions are farmed out to volunteers, or programs are eliminated altogether. I can’t imagine what is lost in the lives of students, and many of their families.
The richest part of coaching is relationships, which are often most revealed during the worst circumstances.