Last Friday ISPS and I met with an old friend of mine. This guy has been around soccer in Southern California and beyond for years. He has probably forgotten more about soccer than most of us will ever know. His network of global soccer people is crazy. More on him soon.
As we were chatting, we brought up a guy who was one of his former players. How former player ultimately went on to become one of my youth team coaches. It was a good chat. We relieved some memories. Talked about some of the players I used to play with. It was a walk down memory lane and a really great way to spend a couple of hours.
This all happened Friday afternoon.
Saturday night at 10:06pm I get a text from a number I don’t know. From the makeup of the numbers, it’s clearly a foreign number. I’m not sure about checking the text, but I end up looking anyway. I read the text and am somewhat taken aback by it. The text is from my old coach that I was just talking about yesterday. He’s been coaching around the world the last fifteen years, and out of the blue I get a text from him. He got a text from our mutual friend and ended up reaching out. A couple minutes later, my phone rings and it’s my former coach, calling me from Korea.
We chat for the next 20 minutes doing our best to catch up on years worth of stories. I knew some of where he had been, as his story is not only an amazing one but a very public one. He then told me that he knew of Bumpy Pitch and some of the projects that we were working on. Said he loved the brand and was really happy to see that I had remained in the sport after I had stopped playing. And then he told me that he was proud of me. And this is what the point of this story is about.
All these years after he was my coach, it still meant quite a bit to hear that from my coach. To hear that I had done well and that he was proud. The same thing players want to hear after matches or at the end of a training session, still meant a great deal to me all these years later. And that is a pretty cool thing. It’s amazing to think about the impact that a great coach or a great teacher can have on kids and how that impact can still be as strong years later.
It’s easy to box in the work that coaches or teachers do. In the case of youth soccer, to focus on the games that are won or the technique that is being developed or the tactical awareness that is being taught. We look at all of these as indicators as to how well the coach is doing. A sort of barometer as to the success of a coach. But in the long run, coaches, educators, teachers etc have a much greater impact on the lives of their players or students. The impact that they have on our lives goes well beyond the things that they taught us on the field.
Many of us are blessed with having some amazing coaches or teachers in our lives. People that affected our lives in much more meaningful ways than what takes place on the soccer field. I was reminded of that on Saturday night. Thank you, Afshin.