Being able to say I am just two days short of having been employed for the past 10 months at The Evening Sun, is something that came in the blink of an eye. The adult world is still something of a marvel to myself, as I am slowly picking up on the ins and outs and how to truly ‘adult’ correctly. I now have a new appreciation for my parents, my teachers and my coaches for putting up with my three younger brothers and I, to say the least.
However, one thing I have really be focusing on, is forcing myself to step back and slow down, to really take in and observe what I am doing each day.
As my days generally revolve around what high school games I will be going to and which articles I have to write about for the next days paper, I find myself surrounded by student athletes and coaches almost everyday. Therefore, I have gotten to know many coaches and athletes thus far, and have been able to observe many different ways that coaches attempt to reach these young athletes.
The athletes have been amazing to observe, when I can still remember what was running through my head what feels like ages ago, but in reality was just a short years ago. As I knew back then and as I see evident even more so now, each person is different in their approach to their respective sport, their preparation, attitude, and it really is quite interesting to observe all these students from all across Chenango County perform, and at quite a high level I might add.
But the coaches and their many different styles has been what truly has caught my attention, when I find the time to focus on what I am constantly and endlessly writing about. Without singling anyone out, in a positive or negative light, I admire and enjoy working with all of the various coaches in Chenango County.
When I think back to my many coaches I had in various sports growing up, I most fondly remember the ones who helped inspire and shape me into the ‘adult’ I am today. But, nevertheless, I also remember the few coaches who seemed to be just placeholders and the even a couple of coaches who were utterly negative and not inspiring in the least.
Coaches essentially are an extension of teachers in our society, helping to mold and shape the young minds of our youth. I know personally I can think of many influential coaches in my life, and even today I maintain a friendship with many of them. However, these negative coaches still hold a place in ones mind as well, something to strive not to become.
As I deal with all of the varsity level coaches in Chenango County, I have come to see a small glimpse of each of their styles. So when I happen to run into coaches that openly seem to be coaching not for the betterment of our youth and the sport, but instead for their own praise and pride, it bothers me to a degree. To hear these coaches complain that their team ‘doesn’t play for them,’ or ‘they aren’t winning,’ is perplexing to me, as even within a losing season, I always understood a huge part coaching was to manage their team and help inspire a spark to want to win.
A great coach and man taught me that sports are essentially a prelude to life – you have to work as a team, you have to excel individually, you have to face constant adversity, and when you fail you have to learn from it and get back up– this coach remains a part of my life today, and people like this belong in the coaching realm, and can truly help mold our youth into positive human beings.
When an individual is coaching for simply a paycheck or to get their name on a plaque, I see it as a drain on our local sports, which already are fighting an uphill battle with dwindling enrollment in some sports and simply the fact that Chenango County does not have the large class A schools and their budgets that accompany to further their success. Despite all this, I see much promise for the future of Chenango County high school sports if pushed in the right direction.
These young student athletes will one day be ‘adults’, entering into everyday life. For some of these kids, school and sports is all they may have if their parents are absent or otherwise not raising them. Therefore, it is important to be there and set a strong example for them, so one day they can look back on their coaches with thanks for the lessons taught, rather than have another thing –their coaches – that my millennial generation can blame their shortcomings on.
That being said, these negative coaches are few and far between, and usually work their way out of the coaching staff on their own accord.
Now as The full-time Sports Editor at The Evening Sun, and with nearly two full varsity seasons under my belt, it has been a pleasure to work with each and every team thus far, and I look forward to finding out what future seasons have to bring.
Good luck to the many teams and athletes of Chenango County who are or will be heading into post-season play this week or in the coming week, and lets hope each team can get that win and advance to the next round. And to those athletes and coaches that have concluded their seasons or will be shortly, it was a hectic spring 2016 season, but a very engaging and fun time.