Thursday, May 21, 2009
My kids, students and the Luau
School is over in a week. The more years I pile on in my career, the quicker they seem to fly by.
With each year, I have become more and more thankful for the career path that I have chosen. I love my job and 14 years doing it has shown me that there is no better career for me.
What fuels my love for the job isn't the satisfaction I get from teaching kids about the positives of being physically fit for a lifetime. Rather, it is the joy of building relationships with the high school kids.
I love them. Each and everyone of them. Sure, there are times when they piss me off or disappoint me. But, there is no greater satisfaction than watching them come in as freshman and seeing them grow, mature and turn into young adults who appreciate the hard work that myself and the rest of the faculty, administration and other school employees do for the kids.
My favorite event at the end of each year is the Luau. Having graduated from the school that I have been employed at since 1994, I have missed this event only six times since 1985.
Yearbooks are passed out, carnival-like games are played, great food is eaten, and memories from the last year are reminisced. Since I spend so much time at the school as both a teacher and the school's head football coach, my daughters go with me so they can say goodbye to so many students who have watched my kids during football practices and games.
My girls love it. They dance with the students and eat more crap than any 4- to 7-year-old should ever eat. The students love to see them and take them from me for much of the night and teach them dance moves like the "Jerk". It is a move that has been a craze on our campus all year and is one that I could never duplicate.
While my girls are off having fun with cheerleaders and watergirls from my football team, I am able to walk around and talk to kids that I have spent so much time with over the last fours.
During this time, I run into a kid who was my quarterback during my first two years as the head coach. A kid that I would gladly and proudly call my own son.
With no reservations or doubts, I tell him that I will never coach a kid again who has his tireless work ethic in the classroom and football field. He was and is everything a coach could want from a player.
As easy as it was for me to Coach my quarterback, my Most Valubale Player from last season was without a doubt the most challenging athlete I had when I took over the program two years ago. I saw a kid who had more potential than any other player on the field who didn't work as hard as I would like, and he saw a 5-7, 150-pounder who looked like he never played the game.
We yelled at eachother, cursed at eachother, and sometimes went a week or two without saying a word to one another. He drove me mad as I tried everything to get him to see that all I ever wanted was for him to become to best player and person he could be.
I don't know when it happened, or how it happened, but, sometime during the last year the tension between us went away and we quickly became eachother's greatest ally. When I saw him at the Luau, we took a picture together and had a few words that I will never forget.
"Who would thought that you and I would actually like eachother after the start we had together?"
"I know Coach. I hated you when you got the job. But, I would do anything for you now. I can't thank you enough for everything you did for me. I owe you so much."
Little do his he know, that I owe him.
It has been kids like him over the last 14 years that has made a career, my passion.