As a long time Coach and mentor I came across this article (see below) that I thought was both interesting and thought-provoking. I pride myself on connecting with young people and I have coached every level of player and almost every type of personality. The quiet, emotional, difficult, happy-go-lucky, I don’t care, enthusiastic, fiery, sulking, athletic, non athletic, and anxious to name a few. You name the adjective and I have probably coached it. And frankly most coaches display these same traits as well as parents. It’s what makes us part of the human race.
The article asks us three questions:
1. Who tells us who we are?
2. Where do we want to go with our lives?
3. How do we want to get there?
Question one outlines the amount of noise all of us face each day especially young people. Internet, Social Media, TV, Movies, Advertising etc. The article stresses that we don’t hear enough of how hard we work, how curious, how to make a positive difference to others. These forces stress the importance of what we wear, what we buy, who we hang out with how many people like us on Facebook, what college are we going to go to etc. Instead of substance and character we worry about appearance and material objects.
I relate this to lacrosse because I can catch, throw and shoot with a $35 dollar stick vs the X15 model $200 stick. Players and parents get to revved up about swag and sticks. It is important to have good equipment but you don’t need to get a new stick or helmet every season.
Question two is important because it defines who we are. I have met many people in life who just go around aimlessly and never really finding a passion for anything. They chase instant gratification and dollars signs but in the end I believe life is about relationships. Coaching has allowed me to impact young people’s lives in a positive way. While I have made many mistakes over the years, I cherish the moments that I have with all my players. Some players I may have only coached for a year and others for many seasons. It is a joy to get a note or a call from them and know that I was part of their life.
Question three the author proclaims is the most important question. How do want to get there? He speaks of cheating to get ahead. Lacrosse like other sports has cheaters. The player that grabs the ball on the Face-off, illegal stick stringing, thumbing the ball to name a few. We as players, parents and coaches should praise the players that play by the rules and use hard work and determination to get ahead. Short cuts never really get you to your destination.
I don’t profess to know everything there is to know about millennials, baby boomers or X and Y generations. But these questions are not just unique in today’s day and age.
Socrates once said this about youth:
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
Socrates died in 399 BC. Think about that for moment. Here is one of the worlds greatest philosophers complaining about youth during his life. I would like more optimistic about our young people then Socrates was. They have brightness and enthusiasm and I am honored to be around them every day.
As another great Philosopher, Charles Schultz (Peanuts creator) once said “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”
See ya on the field