I know it can be frustrating because these are supposed to be the best years of your life.
You’re at the perfect mix of independence from your parents and not a lot of real world responsibilities. These are supposed to be your care-free years, when a kid can be a kid.
You see your friends going out on Friday nights (or sitting together watching you in the stands). They can sleep in or grab a bite to eat after school. You can never hang out because you have lifting and practice and a ton of homework to catch up on.
They only have their parents to answer to. You have to answer to coaches too, who hold you to a higher standard than maybe even your parents. They expect the best from you at every second of the day. Your friends don’t experience the same pressure of being a role model and getting it right every time.
You’re exhausted from all the extra things you have to do to be great in every area of life. It feels like there are not enough hours in the day.
But players, you don’t know how lucky you are.
You get the best of the man who loves the game, but cares about your character more. While most of the world sees you as wins and losses and what you did right and what you got wrong, he sees the man you can become. He sees your strengths, but he also takes the time to help you improve your weaknesses.
You have someone who will always be in your corner, helping you and encouraging you to be the best that you can be. And coach isn’t the only one, you’ve got me and my kids too. We will cheer you on even after you’ve played your last game and moved on to the next phase of your life.
You are developing lifelong bonds that will stand the test of time. Most friendships in your younger years will fizzle out, but not these. They will be more than friends, more than teammates even. They are your brothers for life.
You are learning the hard lessons: discipline, commitment, resilience, and the importance of teamwork. And while you’re learning them really early in life, you will be grateful you did. Right now you’re young enough to have a little wiggle room for mistakes here and there; that won’t always be the case.
The truth is when you look back on these years, you won’t really remember the times you got to just hang out. A breakfast with friends or hanging out on a Friday night past your school night curfew will soon be forgotten. But you’ll always remember the feel of your jersey and helmet, walking out to everyone cheering for you. You’ll remember the wins, and the losses, and trying harder next time. You will remember and you will be grateful for the challenging times.
Yes, there are some very difficult pieces of this life you lead, but the joys are far greater.