posted on Friday, June 5, 2020
It's Never Over
When I was coaching girls track, it was common that around early February the girls would start asking me, “Mr. Kerns when does track start?” My answer was always the same, “It’s never over.” Then they would usually just give me a weird look and move on. I trusted that by the time they left the program, they would figure out what my response meant.
This concept is something that I learned from Coach Thomas. He showed us that coaching the sport meant teaching sound fundamentals, mundane repetitions, conditioning, the “little things”, teamwork, commitment, sacrifice, effort, intensity, getting better every day, and all of the things that lead to building a program and a tradition. He also showed young people the connection between activities and life after those activities. It was important that the skills used to be successful in high school were to be transferred to one’s adult life. That connection is what was meant by saying, “It’s never over.” In some way, you are working to get better each and every day of your life. Don’t stop doing all of the positive things you did to improve during the season only to forget them when the season ends.
As coaches, we like to claim that what we do teaches young people lifetime character qualities that will help them lead productive lives as adults. I believe that’s true. Life will provide us with tests to see what we have truly learned from our experiences. These tests in life are called adversity. Sometimes we find out that no one is immune to suffering. How do we respond when confronted with adversity? Many of us have seen athletic teams pull apart when something goes wrong. You can see them get frustrated, start blaming each other and lose their composure. The successful teams will come together when faced with adversity. We oftentimes look back and find that part of a person's success was determined by how they responded to adversity.
Remember the words of a coach, or any teacher, when things get tough. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Finish strong and it’s never over."
Titus 2:7-8 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Try to remember that living a productive life takes significant effort. The fundamentals that lead to success in sports are true also in life. I hope you live life like it’s never over.