Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Next Step

In the Spring of 2001, Coach walked into the Woodland field house to talk to the Bobcat's head coach about volunteering with the team. It was the first step in what has been an eleven-year journey so far. In that time, he learned first how to lose (the Cats went 2-8 in Coach's first year on staff). He learned how to push a team, in the weight room, practice field, classroom, and on game night. He learned how to build a program by working under one of the best in the business. He learned how to prepare. How to deal with difficult situations and disappointments. And he learned how to win.

That same field house became his second home. The coaching staff, his brothers. It's impossible to count the hours he has spent preparing, planning, practicing, and working alongside those guys. The coaches and the athletes were family to him.

But, as in any family, it's time for one of them to move on and see if he can stand on his own. That was always the plan. We didn't move here with the intention of staying forever. He came to Woodland to learn how to be a coach. He came to start a career. And he has stayed much longer than he intended to. He did that, in part, for me. I went back to grad school, and we needed to stay close to the family we relied so heavily upon to make that happen. But, all along, he's kept his goals in mind. Every year, he has interviewed for positions in other places. This past year, he finished second for one head coaching job and missed out on another because they needed a health teacher. He was offered a coordinator position at a 4A school in the spring. After carefully considering that job, he turned it down. It would have been a great opportunity, but it didn't feel right. I think part of him just didn't want to leave.

Two weeks ago, he got another offer. And, I have never seen him struggle with a decision like he did this one. For a week, we discussed and debated and prayed about this opportunity. He talked with numerous coaching friends and weighed his options. We talked with our children. He went back and forth and back again. Finally, Coach called the principal and turned down the job. As soon as he hung up the phone, he felt that he'd made the wrong choice. So he called back.

Tonight, he walked into that same field house to say goodbye to the kids he's watched grow up in front of him. Kids who mean the world to him. The athletes here, they were the biggest part of why he chose to stay so long. You don't find kids like these everywhere. I wonder if they can even comprehend how hard that was for him to make this decision. I hope they can offer him the same love and support he's shown them all these years. And I hope they understand that he is and always will be a Bobcat.

It's time to move on, no matter how hard it is. It's time to take on a new challenge. Its time for him to be able to take steps toward his eventual goals. So, for those reasons, along with many others, when he takes the field this fall, it will be as the offensive coordinator for the Ranburne Bulldogs.

It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye, but we are excited to see what this new season of life has in store for us.

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