When you graduate high school, everything changes. Suddenly you are forced to find yourself and figure out what career path makes you happy. I was determined to find something that I could put my heart into and make a difference in the world. What I didn’t know was I didn’t have to go far to find it. As I finished up my college degree at Niagara University, I needed to complete 800 volunteer hours in the community as it pertained to my Sport Management Major. I knew that it would be challenging so I chose to focus on my favorite pastime, running. With my dad as the head coach for both Cross Country and Track at Lewiston Porter, coaching appealed to me. I completed the training and became certified to coach but I had no idea what I was getting into. As I was getting ready to finish my final season as a division one athlete, I knew it was my turn to take my experiences as an athlete and help bring out each athlete’s potential that they may not even see in themselves.
Starting my first season as a volunteer coach was not easy and I was filled with nerves. I wanted to be relatable to the athletes so they would feel comfortable to talk to me. I also wanted to be taken seriously in this coaching position that I was in. I did not want to be judged on the basis of being a young female and not treated the same as a male coach. As my dad always told me: a girl can do anything a guy can do and never let someone tell you otherwise. Using those words of wisdom, I was able to gain the confidences needed thanks to my dad who has always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
With each practice, I was able to learn how my dad was able to motivate the athletes to run within themselves. After a few practices, my dad turned to me and told me it was my turn to lead and he would be my assistant coach for the day. I was scared at first because all the athlete’s eyes turned to me and I was put into the spotlight that I didn’t think I was ready for. In that moment though, something happened that I never expected. In my heart I knew I found that something that made me happy and it was coaching. I was able to break out of my shell and feel comfortable and confident in myself that I could and would become a great coach because I love running more than anything and I could help athletes find an outlook that allowed them to express themselves and not be afraid to be themselves.
With the start of my senior year, I had finally completed all required hours needed to graduate college. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders but I knew that my coaching future was just beginning. I had come such a long way with five years of experience under my belt and with my dad there by my side I had developed my unique style of coaching that the athletes could understand and relate to. I did however succumb to my dad’s coaching style of a high five for a job well done to all athletes as long as they tried their best. My dad instilled in me that it doesn’t matter win or lose, it’s about how you play the game. On many occasions I have seen athletes from various different teams who throw fits and use obscenities after a poor performance. I feel embarrassed for the athletes and their team because they are representing their school in a bad light. With my dad, he instills in all his athletes to be a good person and he does not tolerate his athlete’s using obscenities. With his way of coaching, he has been able to win the sportsmanship award for both girls and boys teams the past few years which I believe sends a more important message instead of wins or loses. I have developed this similar style that my dad uses because I want to help create athletes who show excellent sportsmanship and they represent their school in a good light.
The best part of my experiences as a coach is the bond you form with each athlete and becoming one big family. Seeing an athlete accomplish a personal best and they come running to me because they are so excited to tell me and give me a high-five is the best reward I can receive. This in my opinion makes coaching the best job in the world and getting to coach with my dad makes it even more perfect.