Last night we had our spring sports meeting for Loudoun Valley High School, Wil is doing track and Erika is on the softball team. It was a little different than last year when we had just learned Erika made varsity as a freshman and were anxious to meet the coaches and other parents. Sitting there listening to the AD, trainers, and PTO president I was thinking back to when this all began.
When I’m not practicing real estate, my passion is youth sports. It started 22 years ago coaching a 3rd grade soccer team for a friend’s son and I’ve never looked back. It’s mostly been softball, we worked our way up through tee ball, house leagues, all stars, and now travel. Sprinkled in a little basketball, lots of golf, and was fortunate enough to coach my son in football for four years. Most pictures you see of me involve coaching a team, I only wish there was a way to do it full time.
I’ve always felt my main goal as a coach was to instill a love of the game. It was okay if their bodies couldn’t do what we asked, just grasp the concepts of what you are supposed to do and you’ll eventually be successful. The best advice I ever received, “Don’t be their last coach”. The older they get the harder that is, but it makes me remember there is more to the game than winning and losing. Don’t get me wrong, I play to win everything! But if my players learn to have fun, work hard, be accountable to their teammates, and never give up then I’ve done my job.
Last week one of my girls (who no longer plays softball) shared that photo on Instagram and said “Once a Cowgirl always a Cowgirl”. Three of her teammates, who go to different schools now, commented on it. It was my first year as head coach, Erika was 8 years old and it was her second season. Here we are 8 years later and seven of those eleven girls are playing varsity softball. When we see them I will get a smile, maybe a hug, and a how ya doin’ Coach Mike. I guess I’ve done something right.