Our last game of the football season and championship round-robin tournament took place this past weekend. When we finished the game and I was picking up the players’ cards, cones, vests, and balls, I was excited and glad thinking to myself:
Finally! For a few months now, I will have some free time to focus on my personal stuff.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy coaching the boys, it’s just that coaches invest between six and ten hours every week between practices, games, reporting, planning, communicating, and so on. I was very happy for the team, not only we won that last championship game all the way to penalty kicks, but also because we ended up taking silver.
At the end of such game, one of my most challenging players was very talkative. He seemed to be blocking my path while we all were leaving the field, offering to carry the balls or my backpack, and mainly looking around as if searching for something. I was about to tell him “come on, hurry up and let’s go, we’re the last ones to leave the bench,” when he gazed around and noticed the two of us were alone, he showed me a broad smile, and said “you’re the best coach we’ve ever had.”
Man! I will never forget that face and words.
I could only reply with a broken “thank you.”
We don’t get any money, any fame, any kind of civil recognition, anything other than the satisfaction of seeing the players grow as individuals and develop as players: helping our own kids, and at the very least, have fun in the process.
Why do we volunteer?
I’m not sure, but now I cannot wait for the start of the new season: words like those coming from a boy’s mouth keep us doing it.