I had the honor of being a coach to a youth hockey team this season. Yes I called it an honor. It is one on multiple levels. Follow me below the orange face off dot for the reasons why.
It is an honor to be asked to teach and guide children in any endeavor. In my estimation here are just some of the reasons why. I'm sure that all of you can add your own and I invite you to do so in the comments section.
First and perhaps most importantly a family is trusting you with their child. Some of them may know you from around town, school functions, add other various social contacts as you deem fit. Other families know very little or nothing about you other than you are the coach for their child and are trusting you to do right by that child. Yes there are background checks that you must pass and seminars that you have to go to, but that initial investment of trust when you think about it is pretty awesome.
Second is that you are responsible for teaching that group of children. Yes it is a glorified kid's game. However with in that game are many life skills that children need to master.
I'll list a few.
How to deal with personal failure. How to deal with personal success. How to deal with team failure. How to deal with team success. How to lead. How to be an ambassador for your town. How to play fair. How to keep playing fair when others are not. Having fun in the process. Learning the difference between need and want. Just plain learning the game, which is tough enough to begin with.
Doing all of this without being "that" coach was a challenge. I want those kids to come to the rink happy to be there not dreading the next hour or ninety minutes of their lives. I want them love and respect the game like I do. I want them to pay it forward when it's time for them to do so. I want my kids after a game or a practice to come off the ice ready and eager for the next one. I teach them the game and they in turn teach me to be a better coach.
This season was a good one for all of that. Wins and loses were not as import as child development. Practices were fun and games and hard work. Games were not the be all end all. Record didn't matter as much as personal and team improvement. Glitches were ironed out and everyone got to play the game. No short benches. A trophy made of plastic did not trump someones playing time.
Lastly it gives me a far greater empathy and appreciation for those who actually teach children. We don't pay you folks anywhere near what you're worth, nor are you given the respect that you're due as working professionals.