Coach Matt

There is never a lack of material to discuss regarding choices, considering that everything we do or don’t do is a choice. At times we can focus on those questionable choices with ease and take for granted positive choice making. Sometimes the material walks through your front door after a soccer game and eventually graces the pages of an article or blog. This particular article entry is influenced by my 11 year old son, Shawn* and the perspective he asked his impulsive mother to reflect on.
*Not his real name, but he thoroughly enjoyed renaming himself as did my husband, Carter and additional sons, Nicky and Joseph.
Anticipating Shawn’s return from his first indoor soccer game of the season, I opened the door and noticed Coach Matt’s car in my driveway. I was unable to attend the game and wanted details. Yes, I am one of those soccer moms, largely due to the immense respect I have for Coach Matt and all of the players on Shawn’s team, and considering the jagged journey traveled through the years.
This team lost games like it was their job! As parents on the sidelines, we were running out of encouraging slogans and wanted them to perhaps just tie one game and that would be a triumph. We celebrated the little victories when a player could beat another player to the ball or if our players were in their correct positions. We understood that losing every Sunday was character- building but also wanted to see them have the joy of winning. In hindsight, I think we, the parents, wanted the win a little more than our kids because– although they were defeated– they never became deflated! That mindset of keeping their heads held high during adversity has been inspiring. Well, that team was a few seasons ago. With a never- quit or give -in attitude, they have gone on to tie a few games and win many.
Shawn and Greg, Coach’s son, were beet red, sweaty and quite excited sharing the details of their first win of the winter season. “It all went very well until the end,” Coach said. What in the world could have gone wrong, I wondered. As I stood on my porch, I listened to the two boys and Coach unfold a pathetic story of poor sportsmanship, bullying, and physical confrontation by the opposing coaching staff. I immediately wanted to blast that coach, have him removed from coaching, and point out his poor choices. Then, Shawn asked me to write about Coach Matt as an example of a positive role model, one who made self- empowering choices, while keeping in mind that ten young men were looking to see how their coach would react. Thank you, Shawn. I was so wrapped up in the offensive behavior of adults, which disappoints and shocks me all at once, that I was missing the wonderful example that my son and an entire team of boys had before them.
Coach Matt, thank you for pausing for a moment and not engaging in what seems to be commonplace brawl behavior in sports. Thank you for choosing to be a gentleman with respect for yourself, others and the children in your care. Thank you for choosing a spirit of success despite loss. Thank you for teaching through your behavior more than the game of soccer. Winning coaches are a dime a dozen, but coaches that keep the integrity of relationship over the win have lasting life influences molding children into gracious adults.
Thank the Coach Matts in your life and in the lives of the children you care for. They are giving more than mere instruction to a childhood game. They are sharing the game of life. Please, share this article with a coach whom you respect.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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