Friday, February 26, 2016

Not Making The Cut

We just went through tryouts for our spring sports teams. For most of the teams, yesterday was the day coaches delivered the news that a kid made it . . . or didn’t.

It’s a day of highs and lows. It’s great for the kid who makes the team. He or she gets a uniform, a name in the program, and if he or she is one of the elite, gets his or her name read over the PA system. But it’s a tough day for both the coach and the kid. I don’t think I’ve ever met a coach who enjoyed saying to a kid, “You didn’t make it.”

I spent ten years as a coach. Eight at the high school level and two at the collegiate level. I’ve had my share of conversations with kids over the years, telling them that they were good kids, but not quite good enough to make it. It’s a conversation the coach doesn’t want to have and I know from experience, it’s a conversation the kid doesn’t want to have. No matter what words I used (knowing that sometimes I get fouled up and what comes out of my mouth isn’t at all what I intended), the message is pretty clear: not good enough. And in the kid’s mind, he or she might only hear the first two words: not good.

When I was a junior in high school, I got cut from basketball. Looking back on it, I can understand why. As a coach, I would have cut me as a sophomore. I had no left hand, a prerequisite for someone of my short stature. I was only a fair shot. I was pretty good at defense. But when you combine that skill set, there was no way I should have played beyond my freshman year.

Still, at that time, it stung. It hurt. I mean, my friends made the team and instead of being on the court with them, I’m sitting in the stands watching them.

I was a pretty good football player, and the basketball coach was one of the assistant football coaches. When he cut me, he told me that if I tried to run between two trees, I’d hit them both on the way through. I don’t think it was a compliment.

But a funny thing happened at the end of that conversation . . .

He said he needed someone to coach the eighth grade team. Not help out. Actually coach. He told me I knew the game. He said I could see it the way it should be played. He said that he thought I would be a pretty good coach someday.

That was my second experience coaching. My first actually came in my eighth grade year. Father Jim was the sixth grade coach and he asked me if I wanted to help. Hey, why not, right? There were times when something pulled him away from practice and he left me to run it for him. I liked it but didn’t see myself as a coach way back then. After all, I was a player, right?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that possibilities and opportunities come at you unexpectedly. They pop up everywhere. Some we seek out and others are presented to us.

Had I made the team as a junior and then as a senior, Coach Crowe might never have had that conversation with me, and most assuredly, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to coach a team as a junior in high school. It wasn’t something I was looking for. I wanted to play. I wanted to be with my friends. But as it turned out, I was better suited for coaching than playing.

While it is never easy when we’re down or disappointed and hurting, I think we need to remember that in each disappointment, there might be a possibility, an opportunity. The hurt we feel might give way to something better, way better. That possibility will present itself in its own time, in its own way and sometimes . . . maybe most of the time, unexpectedly. We just have to be open to the possibility, the opportunity. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
I received two five star (five out of five) review for both Taking Lives, the Prequel to the Lives Trilogy, and for Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy. 

The reviewer wrote for Taking Lives: “Couldn’t put the book down. Great story can't wait to read the next one.”

The reviewer wrote for Stolen Lives: “Waiting on the next. I thought the prequel was good, but this is another one. Once you start, you can't put it down.”

You can find all four of my books
Taking Lives, Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives and Splintered Lives at:
#Mystery #Thriller #Suspense #Crime #Fiction #Kidnapping #Murder

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe