Since middle school, both of our kids have participated in cross country and track.
Yesterday, we attended the very last sports banquet of their high school athletic career. For the first time in 6 years, I remembered to bring tissues.
Yes, I was prepared to weep.
Being a parent of school athletes has been a gift I did not expect – for the kids of course, but also for me.
Over the last many years, we’ve spent lots of weekend mornings and weekday afternoons traversing central Ohio, near and far.
We’ve been to cities and towns that we would never have considered visiting; we’ve met and chatted with lovely parents we would otherwise not have known; we’ve watched not our children grow, but others’ as well.
We’ve gotten to be proud parents of our kids’ hard work and accomplishments.
And yes, I’ve cried tears of joy and tears of awe. For our own children as well as others’.
What I didn’t realize would touch me more than anything else is the role that their coaches have played during these very formative years.
I know that in some ways, they are just doing their job.
They show up to coach the kids; to teach them skills, to support, coax and direct them.
They show up year after year, some of them decade after decade because it is a job they love.
But what they might not know (I hope they do) is how impactful they are to our kids – for the rest of their lives.
Up until now, these coaches have spent more time and energy on our kids than any other adults besides us. They have watched our kids grow, fail, win, be grumpy, be joyful, be sad, be all the things that kids get to be, between the ages of 12-18.
That’s no small feat!
I brought tissues to the banquet yesterday because I knew how I would respond to seeing the coaches with my kids officially like that for the last time.
Was it grief that I felt?
Was it sadness?
Was it gratitude?
Was it love?
Oh my gosh, it was all of the above.
These coaches will be handing the kids their diplomas on graduation day. Can you already see me in the audience?
I must be prepared to bring a whole box of tissues.
Coaches can certainly change lives. These particular ones did not just change our kids’ lives, they helped MOLD them.
I am forever grateful and will forever be teary when I think about how lucky we have all been not with just any coaches – with these particular ones. ❤️
Who, besides your family, helped mold you?
Have you gotten a chance to reach out to them to thank them lately?