The Saratoga Sun -

The Coach truly makes a difference

 

November 27, 2019



One of the strongest benefits I continue to get from my job as a Saratoga Sun reporter is covering sports teams in Carbon County School District No 2 (CCSD2).

Living in Hanna, I am the guy who covers all the teams at Hanna, Elk Mountain, Medicine Bow (HEM) High School, and there is a definite attachment to the kids there as I watch them from the sidelines.

The same is true for a few of the Saratoga teams I cover, such as football and wrestling.

Going to Laramie this past week and watching HEM take on Little Snake River in the University of Wyoming War Memorial Stadium was exciting, although the outcome was not what I hoped for. Still, some team has to lose and the Miners can hold their hold heads high with the game and the season.

Maybe I have just been lucky, but the teams I have covered the past few years have produced outstanding student athletes that have been a pleasure to watch and report on.

Interviews with individual athletes I have done have made me proud of what CCSD2 produces.

One year, I interviewed all the members of the HEM girls and boys basketball team, the HEM wrestling team and Saratoga’s wrestlers. That was a lot of student athletes and one thing that came across was how much respect the kids had for their coaches.

The Coaches In CCSD2 Are Awesome

I don’t think people forget the coaches hard work, but these folks put in a lot of hours, year after year.

I personally admire teachers to begin with and I have been fortunate to get acquainted with quite a few. I really believe they do a tremendous job.

To those who combine teaching duties and coaching, I am in awe. Really.

I taught overseas, but it was different. Still, I understand lesson plans have to be plotted and it is not easy to keep a group of students undivided attention. And I had aides to make sure students were listening.

I cannot even conceive teaching and coaching.

First, I am just not knowledgeable enough in any sport that I feel I could teach. I love basketball and still shoot around on occasion, but I am not even close to being qualified to teach any type of strategy when playing games. Thankfully, the coaches I watch are qualified. They prove it year after year.

Wrestling was big on the east coast and my best friend was actually a contender for State. I was his sparring partner during the season, actually just someone he just tossed around on the mat. Until I started covering wrestling for the Sun, I knew practically nothing.

Listening to the wrestling coaches encourage their boys (and girl) during practices and the meets is inspiring. They are not only helping the kids develop skills on the mat, but building character.

From what I have witnessed of coaches in all the sports, goals and character are the real lessons they teach students. If a kid has a bad day, I have never seen a coach I have been covering chastise them.

In fact, on several occasions, I have been near enough to hear a coach give encouraging words when the athlete is feeling dejected.

It is heartwarming. No other word can be used.

In CCSD2 we may take this coaching style for granted as the way all coaches are, but from my youth, I know it is not so.

It Is Not The Same

Everywhere

I was a decent soccer player in 10th grade but, after making the team, I found little enjoyment. Lets just say my coach was not inspiring. I left the team not wanting to be in organized sports at all.

No doubt my attitude could have used some improvement, but it seemed like he had his favorites. If you were not one, little encouragement was given. I played intramural water polo in college and that coach was the same way. I felt like an inferior athlete and it was not until I was out of school did I realize I was not as bad at sports as I believed. I can remember being at the Honolulu YMCA and being told I was good swimmer and decent basketball player.

Me? Really?

It made quite a difference in my attitude in facing life.

I believe organized sports does this and a good coach is all the difference in the world.

I was fortunate that I had friends that dragged me out onto the basketball court and just had me play horse and pick-up games to where I learned to enjoy the game. It certainly didn’t happen because of any coach I ever had in P.E.

Soccer was another game I played in Hawaii and was pretty surprised when I found my speed and abilities were respected by teammates and opponents.

I don’t know if it was the school system I was in. My graduating class was just shy of 400, so I can understand maybe coaches were overwhelmed with how many kids they had to train. Still, I honestly cannot think of any P.E. teacher or coach that stands out as someone I felt benefited me. I can think of several teachers.

Be Proud Of Our Coaches Here In CCSD2

I do think the parents, fans and administrators appreciate the coaches we have teaching our students. But because they do such an excellent job year after year, it could be easy to take them for granted.

Don’t.

I believe their hard work, hours of effort and character building are what make CCSD2 athlete students into the great human beings they are when they graduate.

This is due to great teachers, an administration and board that cares about students welfare and, of course, the coaches if the student play sports.

And lets not forget the coaches who are not teachers that volunteer their time to help. I watch them contribute the same ideals and put in a lot of time.

The bus rides to the different towns is commitment in itself. Wyoming is a huge state and it takes time to get from place to place. It is tough enough on students, but unbelievable to me for coaches. I also have to respect that time on the buses must be so hard after a heartbreaking loss. Somehow these coaches find the right words to keep the kids inspired.

Not all students play sports and excel in other ways, but as someone who didn’t have a great opinion of organized sports in high school, I am glad to be around the people that changed my outlook.

It is another reason I am glad to be living in Carbon County.

Now if winter could just hold off a little longer.

Who am I kidding? It’s here already.

At least the bright side is wrestling and basketball season are starting. Definitely something to look forward to. I think it is going to be an exciting year for all teams and I know they will all be well coached.

 

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