As you probably know with this blog, I get a lot of my material from my son’s mite team, some former players and just from random thoughts that come into my head. (Scary, I know…) Being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would reach out and lean on a group of hockey people that we all should all be thankful for. After all this time I realize how grateful and thankful I am to all the people who coached me up along the way!!!
Coaches are fascinating individuals. I have played for ones that I loved. Ones I feared. Ones I hated at points but after time, pretty much respected them all. Many of them have a gift to be able to focus with extreme intensity on the current day, how to prepare and are meticulous planners. They know how to motivate and how to strategize to get the best results out of a group of highly talented individuals. They can knock you down to toughen you up and also pick you up when you have stumbled or been beaten down. Coaches do a lot for a team and can make or break a hockey season. Without question.
They are also very human and when they get time to take a deep breath and think about things, are a lot like the rest of us. They are also very similar to each other regardless of the level they coach at.
I reached out to a few local coaches from all levels and asked them two questions appropriate for this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend and this time of year.
“Coach, what are you most thankful for as a coach?” and, “What are you most thankful for as a person?”
Make sure if you have a young hockey player, have them read these answers. I only asked a few but there are thousands of mentors like them all over the country. Take note how little emphasis there is on winning and losing but on other more important things. Not one of them even mentions the words win or lose……Great Stuff!
Riley Cote-Assistant Coach- Adirondack Phantoms- American Hockey League: “I’d have to say I am so thankful for the Flyers for giving me an opportunity to coach with the phantoms and help develop young players and guide young men to become the best they can be. I am most thankful to have learned what true health really is.”
Bob Prior-Head Coach Princeton University-Division 1 ECAC: “As a coach I am thankful for the opportunity to educate young men that are driven to get better, I am thankful for the opportunity to be in a profession that I have a great passion for, I am awfully lucky. There is a tremendous sense of fulfillment in working with these young men in watching them grow both as players and as people.As a person I am thankful for my family and friends everyday, I love the people that I am surrounded by on a daily basis and am excited every day that I wake up. I learn from my family, friends, and student athletes daily and I am thankful they are in my life.”
Guy Gadowsky- Head Coach Penn State University Division 1: “As a coach I am grateful for great goaltending and as a person I am grateful for a great wife, both can make life a lot better!”
Randy Walker- NJ Junior Titans: “As a coach, I am thankful that I am still involved in this great game and get to watch both my sons build lasting relationships and memories like I did as a player.As a person, I am thankful for my wife and kids and the love (and time) we have to share with our family & friends.
Jeremy Hall- Team Comcast u-16 AAA: “As a coach, I am thankful to be given the opportunity to work with high level hockey players and have a chance to impact their lives through this great sport. As a person, I am thankful to have a wonderful wife and beautiful little boy to share everything with.”
Roman Bussetti-Team Comcast Squirt Team: “As a coach I am thankful for the knowledge and understanding that the lord has granted me to teach and instruct this great game.As a person I am thankful for the well-being of my family, my friends and myself.”
John Seravalli-Coach of The Philadelphia Generals Select Mite Powerhouse Team (our team..): “I am thankful to be able to help players become better people first then better hockey players. There is nothing more rewarding as a coach when an ex-player comes back years later and thanks you for helping them to become a good person on and off the ice. I am thankful to my parents who gave me an opportunity to play sports and get a good education so that I now can help others.”
This is a weekend to express how much we are thankful for. Make sure you do. Thank your coaches. Often they don’t get the recognition they deserve. Deep down they are great people as evidenced by those answers.
Remember their answers and at some point this weekend, step away from hockey and focus on being thankful for the following regardless of your win loss record.
1. Your health
2. Your family
3. Your friends
4. Your great country you live in
5. Your ability to lean and rely on hockey when you need to.(and of course….great coaches!!!!)
We are all blessed!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!