Is Being Seen as a Role Model Comfortable for You?
I still remember my Little League coaches to this day, some 25 or 30 years removed from playing for them. If I’m ever stumped on how to handle a situation, I ask myself, “What would Mr. Jones do?” I talk a little bit about him below.
Which kind of brings me to what I really think it means to be a role model at this level. And that’s simply this…
Teach good sportsmanship.
And be a good sport yourself.
I would throw some good natured teasing at kids or coaches on the other team at times, but that’s only because we all knew each other and everyone knew we were joking around. It’s never harsh or critical or anything even close to approaching it.
That’s really what kids and parents should expect. At least in my view.
This nonsense about how kids aren’t allowed to look up to, or follow the example of, adults other than their parents is just that…nonsense.
Kids and teams take on the personalities of their coach. They just do. Don’t make them feel embarrassed by your actions.
Agree or disagree? Sir Charles doesn’t agree…
…And I think he’s wrong.
Real Story from the Trenches
I don’t keep in close touch with most of my friends from my Little League days, due in large part to the fact that I moved away from my hometown for college and stayed in my new adopted home. But I do keep up with some things on Facebook.
One evening a couple years ago, a girl from “back in the day” posted an old team photo from, I’d say, maybe our 10 year old team. A bunch of us who were on that team went into instant reminiscing mode. We ALL remembered our coach.
He was tough on me. But I loved him. Absolutely adored him. Years later I realized he was tough because he wanted to make me better. I appreciated him then for it, and I still appreciate him today.
One of my teammates, who I haven’t seen in probably 30 years, told the story of how his son one day came across one of the championship trophies we won together. Trophies that this special coach bought for us. They were huge. It makes you feel special at that age to get that kind of thing.
Anyway, his son pulled it out of a box in the basement, stared at it kind of wide-eyed and said, “Dad, did you win the World Series when you played?” Hahaha. Coach always made sure we had the best.
So my point is, trophies aside, that sparked a conversation among the half dozen or so of us who were on those teams about what a great MAN our coach was. Forget coach. Just MAN. Human being.
He was a fantastic guy and someone I’ll never forget. To have that kind of impact on kids who aren’t your own…that’s special. And if I can have even 10 percent of that impact on the kids I’ve coached, I’ll be a happy man. And I’m sure you would be, too.