I just recently left coaching for a job in business development in downtown Boston. For a 25 year old, this is the pinnacle of my twenties. But, people who know me and know the role hockey has always been in my life have asked why I want to leave coaching. My answer is simple: because I love hockey too much. That response is confusing to many, and I typically get a follow up question of, well aren’t you supposed to do what you love? And yes, they’re exactly right. But I view it differently and here is why.
Coaching is every career I could possibly imagine wrapped into one. A good coach is a teacher, a dreamer, a budget keeper, a manager, a psychologist, an athletic and/or personal trainer, an equipment guru, a technology user, an artist, a compliance officer, an athlete, a secretary, an admissions counselor, and academic advisor, a video analyst, a sales person, the good cop, the bad cop, an encourager, an accountability enforcer, the person who creates, prepares, and executes all of the aforementioned functions, listed or unlisted in the job description…with or without a night’s sleep. Starting to get the picture?
A coach is an incredible role. To be all of these attributes in one is not something an education could ever adequately prepare you for. The incredible coaches that I have been fortunate enough to spend time with worked and continue to work tirelessly to educate themselves and be the best for the group in which they are leading. Not just in one area, but all areas. Their level of commitment to the sport and their teams far out number of thanks in which they receive (and expect.) This commitment is not exerted for the value of thanks, but for the development and ultimate wellbeing of their players, colleagues, and for the university for whom they represent. Not one of those listed sources of motivation is for themselves. Coaches whom I have met through my experiences in the field have floored me by their humility and sacrifice for others. It is truly humbling to have them as part of my story and to have learned from them.
Their unconditional commitment to hockey allowed me to reach a new depth of respect for my time spent in my short coaching career. It is not for the faint of heart (or those who desire wealth). They are the strong ones, they are the thankless people who better the future by their sacrifice to student athletes, whom will ultimately enter the world knowing the lessons of sport and life, thanks to the incredible leaders whom they have called coach.
As for why I am not staying in it, I simply want to love hockey again, perhaps throw on the pads myself again in some adult league on Route 1, have a life with hockey in it, but not have hockey with a little life in it. I have a greater appreciation than ever for those who CAN take on the coaching life and do it well.
To all my colleagues and those whom have become friends and family, you are amazing and I salute you.