Yesterday was national letter of intent day. This means it’s the day that high school athletes sign their letters on intent to play sports at the next level.
It’s an incredibly exciting day for these young athletes. In my time as a coach, I’ve been a part of these for many athletes.
Each and everyone of them is meaningful and I feel enormous joy for these kids as they get rewarded for something they’ve worked their entire life for!
Yesterday I watched on as three of our seniors signed their letters of intent. This signing day looked different than most. There were masks of course and social distance of course and much to the dismay of the few people who attended, no cupcakes or Bundt cakes celebrating the young men and women who signed.
One of the things I love most about my job as a teacher and coach is helping young people live out their dream. Getting that call, text or even drop in at our house to tell us where they have decided to go to school is one of my favorite things. I can vividly remember all of those conversations with our players through the years.
There is one call, that still to this day, brings tears to my eyes, that call, was an extra special one for many reasons.
This particular young lady had always dreamed of playing Division 1 volleyball. She was, however, a little undersized. I too, was a little undersized back in the day and I never wanted that silly fact to determine my players fate, as I never let it define mine. So this young woman and I had many conversations about how anything was possible and that she shouldn’t let her height determine what she was capable of doing. Also, she was really good at volleyball. She just needed to be reminded of it!
When my phone rang the day she accomplished her goal, I was sitting at the Cheesecake Factory with my whole family. The triplets were 3 years old and Fiona was 1. We liked to take them to restaurants every now and then so they’d learn how to behave in a restaurant. It was always a little chaotic but I’m happy to report it definitely helped. Normally, I would not answer a call in the middle of a hectic dinner out with four kids under the age of 3, but when she called I knew I had to answer.
When I heard her voice I knew immediately she had good news. Her voice was shaking. I could tell she was crying. Then she said “I did it. I achieved my dream and I’m going to play Division 1 volleyball.” There were a lot more questions and discussions in between squeals, muffled screams (I was in a restaurant) and tears. That hug I got to give her when I saw her at school that following Monday was one of the best.
I can’t express how beautiful it is to be a part of these kids story. Bryan and I have been blessed to send so many girls off to college to play and we take the responsibility we have in promoting them and helping them with that process very seriously. We’ve also been very blessed to be able to see nearly all of them play at the college level (sometimes babies being born, pregnancies or family emergencies have prevented that). Some of these attempts to watch our girls play resulted in great trips to places like North Carolina and even California. I even got to see one play in the Beach NCAA tournament in Gulf Shores. It was pretty amazing.
Our vocation as coaches is one of the most important things we do.
I’m so grateful for our role in their lives. We are so blessed to get to watch them live out their dreams and they are a part of our family forever.
My job is pretty cool!
These are just a few of those signing days through the years at SJA. It’s pretty cool to look back on the amazing girls we’ve had an opportunity to coach. We are grateful…Wish I had a picture of them all.
As Bryan and I plan to continue to coach for many years I know that I look forward to more of these in the years to come and that’s pretty awesome!