I think back at all coaches, karate teachers, and Air Force instructors that I had throughout my life (In basketball, I had Coach Fred. In karate, I had Master George. In the Air Force, I had Staff sergeant Nunez). The lessons I walked away from usually had nothing to do with the task at hand.
I think of patience, and how to not just lead, but follow. I think of a the discipline that was instilled in me throughout the years. I learned teamwork and perseverance. I learned how to be a winner, even if my team didn’t win. I learned self-confidence. I learned how to work on something bigger than myself.
I say all this without mentioning any basketball drills, karate kicks, or military techniques—because being a coach goes way beyond that. It comes down to vision: for the court, for the board that was broken, for the PT drills that I had to do before the sun came up. It’s vision that has carried me on daily basis throughout the years, and it was from these coaches that vision has become a staple in my life.
So I don’t take being a coach lightly. I’ve seen what my coaches have done for me. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. Now it’s time for me to pay it forward to the kids that are on my team. I see the younger me in each one of them.