Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 17, 2017

Coaches teach life lessons

By Jim Turner, Fairfield | Sep 21, 2017

To the editor:

Looking back 40 to 50 years on my high school days, it is my coaches I remember best. I liked and respected my teachers, but in the end I learned more from my coaches. I am not criticizing my teachers; they were wonderful. But sports was where I lived in my high school days.

Coaches could reach me and make me listen when almost no one else could. And back then, I would run through the proverbial “wall” for them. I probably still would but I should know better by now.

The lessons they taught me are too numerous to mention but here are just a few. They taught me to get over myself and play for the team, to be a team player. My JV coach called me the “weak sister” of the team. Why? Because he knew I wasn’t but needed to come down a notch or two.

That same coach observed me in a classroom clowning when I was under his authority and wasting his and everybody else’s time. Later that evening at a school event, he jacked me up against the wall and gave me the what for. I deserved it.

Other coaches taught me other valuable lessons, life lessons as I still remember them over 40 years later. My JV basketball coach heard me bragging about my points per game average to some members of the opposing team about 10 minutes before the game. I always started and expected to that day.

As I got up to join the other starters, he told me to sit down. He replaced me with the worst player on the team, who happened to be my best friend at the time. It was a hard lesson. I was hurt, embarrassed and had to eat crow. But I learned the lesson.

Other coaches taught me about discipline, conditioning and preparation. About not complaining and subordinating my interest to the team’s interests. And they gave and gave and gave: of their time, talent, resources, and concern. They watched out for us always. Even when we didn’t realize it, they were looking out for us.

Drama coaches, band directors art department teachers, debate coaches and DI coaches all do the same thing. And many of them were our teachers, too.

Thank heaven for our coaches in our school years. And thank heaven for the coaches at our children’s schools. They deserve our respect and appreciation always.

 

— Jim Turner, Fairfield

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