The Coach that Helped Us See

12 December 2018

My heart pounded as I nervously watched the loading icon on my iPhone spin as my email was being downloaded. Finally, the message appeared and my trembling finger scrolled down to the body of text. With the very first line my heart sank and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. The email was everything I had prayed wouldn’t happen. My coach was leaving our team before next season.

For any team, the loss of a coach is hard, especially when that coach transformed your team from a no-name school to state champions in less than a year. But for my team, this was the third time we had received this email.

As a senior, I have 3 fellow teammates that remain from my class. When we started, we were a class of 40. Throughout this process of being dwindled down to us 4, we have had over 8 different coaches in 6 seasons, and been under the administration of 3 different head coaches.

The first coaching change came as a disappointment. We had all known and enjoyed the amusing aspects of our previous head coach Rodney and were sad to see him go, but we remained optimistic as a new coach, coach Renee came aboard.

The next change was frustrating. Coach Renee had proved herself to be a good coach and had led us to some improvement within our league placing. While we weren’t on the map yet, we showed promise for the upcoming season and we all had been looking forward to a new season with her. With this change, we feared we might lose this momentum, yet remained cautiously optimistic.

When coach Adam came on board, transformation took place. We learned a completely new form of rowing, we trained harder and wiser, and we got better….much better. Coach Adam transformed our team from being at the bottom, to being the 2013 state champions.

When the third email came, everyone was devastated. As a captain, it was my duty to remain optimistic and assure my teammates that everything would be alright. But how could I be so sure? I was still asking myself the questions What had we done wrong?, Why didn’t anyone want to coach us for more than a season?, and What was going to happen to us?

As I continued to stress over what would happen to our team, I reflected upon how we got to where we were. Then I realized something. Adam didn’t have magical powers or give any of us more strength or better rowing technique that allowed us to win states, and it was highly unlikely that we as athletes developed that strength and ability in such a short time.

All this pondering made me realize that what Adam gave to our team wasn’t the ability to row faster, it was the ability to understand our potential and what our real limits were. Our ability had always been there since the days of coach Rodney, what we needed was someone to force us to see that hidden ability.

What the future holds for our team I don’t know. We all will certainly miss our coach and be forever grateful for what he guided us to. But what we all now hold, is something even greater than the state championship, it is the ability to realize that we all have hidden ability that we need to let be shown.

As I continue on to college I will be faced with a lot of changes and presented with several new scenarios, however I can confidently say that I am ready to embrace these changes, and use them as opportunities to let me find my hidden abilities.

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