Wednesday, April 29, 2009

coach [kohch]
a person who trains an athlete or a team of athletes
Synonyms include: trainer, teacher, mentor
On my way to San Diego this morning, I listened to Coach K's interview with Jim Rome. A product of an all-boys Catholic High School, as well as one of Westpoint's finest, Coach K's been Duke University's basketball coach for 29 years. I wasn't that familiar with him much until he started coaching the USA Men's basketball team, but eversince then, I've just been fascinated by him. Watching interviews and specials before the Olympics, and then seeing him during those two weeks in Beijing, just made me so curious about his life. Other than being this well-known persona in college sports, or sports in general, he just seems like such a respectable, nice man.
Coach K's radio interview today lasted about an hour and I was lucky enough to catch 45 minutes of it. He's on a book tour right now, promoting a piece he co-wrote with his daughter. It's called The Gold Standard, about his experience coaching the USA men's basketball team. I went to Horton Plaza (this outdoor mall in downtown SD) after I checked into my hotel today, and before my search for a place to have lunch, I decided to stop by the bookstore and buy Coach K's book. 10 pages in and I'm already so into it.
Reading this has made me think of all the coaches I had, and in particular one - Sr. Angelica, my old volleyball coach. In a catholic elementary school, you don't have the luxury of having all the staff in the world you need to run every classroom and program. Fortunately for us, the 2nd grade teacher was a former volleyball coach. I know what some people may think: A nun for a volleyball coach? And I admit, despite having grown up surrounded by nuns, I was curious myself about how this was going to go. But I have to say, even after the numerous PE coaches in grade school (except maybe Coach Wayne), and 3 cheerleading coaches I had in high school, Sr. Angelica was the one coach who taught me the most and who I am so grateful I got to know. I learned more than just game of volleyball under her guidance. I learned a lot about patience, fairness, dealing with UNfairness, developing skills that you aren't born with, and of course sportsmanship. Coaches, for the great amount of time that you have to spend with them, can turn into more than just someone who runs drills and draws up plays. If you're lucky, a coach can be someone whose words resonate long after you break from the last huddle.

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