My favorite moment in twelve years as a coach did not happen on a field. It took place on a cold fall morning as I got to experience sunrise at the Grand Canyon with nine of my athletes. The collective gasp and silence from a group of guys, known to talk nonstop, as they soaked in the view was priceless. The brilliant oranges and reds only seen by waking up to dawns early light greeted us. At that point I hoped they realized what being a part of a team is all about. It is more than the wins and losses the medals and trophies, it is the other moments of bonding as a band of brothers. The sweat and hard work put in at the weight room and practice, the time spent together away from school, and the quiet moments when it dawns on them that they only get few chances to showcase their talent, to represent their school.
Of course, we usually do not realize that the train will continue on without us. That other coaches and players will replace us as time marches to its beat. It never hit me until my final game. So, I tell my teams to make a memory. Make the season special. Build relationships with your teammates that will transcend the sport. In the end those memories, those feelings, are all that you will be able to hold on to.-
With this group of seniors, some of them that I have known for seven years, I wanted them to have something special to remember. So, we took a trip to the mountains of Arizona. Saw the grandeur that is a sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Ran two-a-days in altitude to prepare. Bonded around the dinner table of my wife’s cooking. As the years go by and the trophies won collect dust. The memories of coming together as a team will be what they cherish the most.