This week I had an interesting encounter with a coach.
It’s a school we cover often because they excel in several sports each season.
This coach’s team accomplished an amazing feat. It was a big deal. Not just to me, it was actually national news at the time.
I’ve dealt with this coach many times but never actually met them. They have a reputation as being a little difficult, but to me, they’ve been great.
I contacted the coach to see if I could swing by during practice.
They emphatically said no.
Wait, I thought. Why isn’t he letting me recognize his players?
But the more I thought of it, this coach had a point.
Yes what we did as a team was great, he said. But it wasn’t the result the coach was looking for. Our season isn’t over and we have bigger goals, they told me.
All too often today, especially in youth sports, it’s rainbows, ice cream and participation trophies.
I know the value of what a story in our paper can do for aspiring college athletes. At times, being the Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly Player of the Year will appear on college bios as confirmation of their talent.
A feature on an athlete may stay in their scrapbook for the rest of their lives – a momento to share with their kids.
I get it, so I wanted to recognize this team for what they’ve done.
But I also get that coach.
Instead of celebrating smaller accomplishments along the way, they were thinking big picture and pushing their kids toward stardom.
He or she didn’t want their team put on a pedestal when their job is not yet complete.
I respect that.
Thanks, coach, for being difficult at times and for being hard on your team.
You’ve certainly opened my eyes and given me a new respect for you. You’ve also made a decade of athletes on your team better because you demand more than just great.
And for that, you should be commended.