ON BECOMING A COACH PLAYERS LISTEN TO
In the game of life, there are times we all need a coach who stands up for us, inspires us, has the concern for our well-being to learn what moves and motivates us.
Watching a Hallmark movie about Second Chances portrayed an injured firefighter who knew the value of having a buddy to back you and a team that hangs in there with you, even when you are taken out of the line of duty by an injury. When he found an affordable place to rent with a kind single mom for a landlady, his buddies came to visit, giving him the moral support he needed to accept this shift in his circumstances.
Wisely, the mother understood these guys were his family, his buddies, his support system. Her two bright kids liked him right away. Their own dad had walked out on the family when they were three and five, and the mom needed a renter when her job hours were cut back. The firefighter was clearly grateful to be in this home where he knew he was safe and his teammates could visit. In his years of fighting fires, he had learned to be a team player, to face danger with integrity and courage. He had learned to listen to his own boss and buddies, and in a special way, he became the dad-figure these kids needed, someone to stand up for them and protect them when they got into trouble. A good parent, mom or dad, has the strength, the discipline, the courage and the compassion of a good coach, willing to be there even when the team is struggling and facing real adversities.
The two kids, maybe eight and ten now, decided to offer to read to seniors in a nursing home, stories from their hearts that they had written and some classics too; they charged $1 a visit, and did their business without first getting the supervisor’s okay. In this way, they were saving money to help their mom with family expenses.
When they got caught, the supervisor told them they hadn’t paid taxes, gotten her approval, and they were wrong to be there, and had to stop. When the firefighter heard of their services being rejected, he called to make an appointment to speak with the supervisor. The kids realized he was an adult to be trusted and he cared enough not just to play with them, but stand by them when they were in trouble. He didn’t change the supervisor’s mind, but she did realize their intentions were good, so allowed them to keep on reading to these lonely folks who treasured these sweet kids for caring about them in such a personal way, giving them love and attention.
The firefighter discovered his dad (who had died fighting a fire when this man was 10) had a best friend in this home, who quietly told him his dad would have wanted him to be happy, to get on with his life and be open to love and a family of his own. This encouragement was a turning point, for he was in love with the children and their mom, and his rarely-spoken grief from losing his own dad had kept him single, living for his job and not open to love for himself. So in a way, this elderly buddy of his dad, his firefighting buddies, and the kids who could see the caring and tenderness unfolding between their mom and this new man in her life were coaches in his life journey.
There are times when we are the coach, encouraging those who feel despair, betrayal, separation, and confusion that keeps someone from believing they are lovable and worthy of respect. There are times we need the wisdom and encouragement of folks who can coach us, helping us accept the support we need and believe in our dreams and ourselves. Sometimes the unwritten rules need to be reviewed and changed when the inner critic tells us we aren’t worthy or capable of being loved and treasured by others.
In the photos above, the first is a gathering of SOU runners. Two were my caregivers for a year, and they knew the camaraderie of being on a winning team for years, often running in practice up to 80 miles a week, even in the heat of summer. They were there for one another when injured too, inspiring each other and making long-term friendships. The second photo was taken three years ago, at a small celebration of my birthday with a few of my friends, some of whom have been my coaches in tough times. Coaches come into our lives if we are open, ready to learn, and open our hearts to the unknown! Coaches come in all ages, not just our elders!