Family, Journal

To Daddy’s Players, From the Coach’s Daughter

Dear Daddy’s Players:

Everyday, when you step on the field, I want you to know that you have a fan. When you miss the routine pass or get tackled behind the line, I am still here in the stands cheering you on. When you strike out or drop that fly ball, I yell louder to encourage you to keep playing your heart out.

You see, I am a coach’s daughter. I know that games can be won or lost. I know that when stress comes, it is easy to get discouraged. I want you to know that I see more that just a player on the ball field. I am watching and observing, and I know that there is so much more to you.

You are who I look up to and who I want to be just like when I grow up. Every practice and game that I attend, I am watching and learning, soaking up all that I can. Please know this and teach me what I need to know.

Teach me to be a teammate.

Show me what it looks like to be humble. Serve your teammates selflessly, and I will learn to be a servant. Show me what it looks like to encourage my friends when they are down on themselves, in their own heads about the mistakes, or stressed out. Teach me what it means to live in harmony, resolve conflict respectfully, and love my fellow players. I am watching your interactions and how you gel with your team. Show me how individuals can knit together to be, work, and play as one.

Teach me to step up as a leader.

My daddy coaches many players on different teams. Year after year, I have the chance to see groups either mesh well or fall apart. The thing that can change the course of the season is who decides to lead. Teach me to lead by example, stepping in to get my hands dirty and complete the tasks that no one else wants to do. Show me what walking in grace and compassion looks like in every emotion or situation. Let me know when to lead by directing and guiding, but also when to listen and learn from those that I lead. Leaders are not the loudest, most senior, or best athletically. True leaders are selfless servants who are open to constructive criticism and committed to the best for the team as a whole.

Teach me to commit fully.

Very few things, if anything at all, are always fun and exciting. Being a part of a team and participation in sports take commitment. Show me how to invest myself into a program. Help me learn to fully trust my coaches and the process, knowing that they have a plan and can see the whole picture for our future. Demonstrate dedication and show me, by example, to come out on the emotionally taxing, physically draining, off days and work my butt off to get better. When teammate relationships are on edge, let me see you come together and put in 100 percent effort. When a losing season discourages you or entices you to quit, show me that you are part of a team that pushes past it and does not give up. Fight to be the best. Choose commitment every single day. I will see the choice that you make.

Teach me to have confidence in myself.

Our world tears us down and breaks us over and over again. Pressure to perform weighs us down with the fear of failure. I need an example that teaches me to trust in my own abilities. Speak words of encouragement to yourself rather than tearing down your own self-esteem. I will follow your model. Take pride in who you have become and in all that you have accomplished. Show me that I can be proud of what my hard work and dedication brings into my life. However, teach me to be humble. Show me that I can be confident and proud of myself without making others feel small. Finding your worth and considering yourself valuable does not result from belittling others. Teach me to instill self-worth in my friends, teammates, classmates, and family. Show me to trust and not discredit when others do the same. 

Teach me respect.

For all of these lessons, build upon a foundation of respect. Respect your teammates. Their abilities and points of view may be different, but everyone has something to bring to the table. Appreciate the differences and I will learn to do the same. Cut out the drama and the conflict by respecting others’ ideas, experiences, and values. Know that you are not always right, and be willing to admit when you are at fault. Respect those who invest their time into your life. Follow the directions that your coach is giving, and be open to trying something new. Open up to those who care for you. Your coaches, their families, and I are all here for you and want the best for you. Respect your community. Our environment may not have been your choice and may not be the community of your dreams, but your outlook and the respect that you show can change to climate forever. Take pride in your community and school. Walk with honor. Respect for your environment, peers, and mentors will take you further than your skill. 

Always remember that I learn from the examples that I see. You are my first heroes and who I want to be when I grow up. Please set out large shoes for me to fill. I am counting on you.

With love,

The Coach’s Daughter

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