While we should all strive in life to be the best at what we do professionally, every year around this time I am reminded how coaches take this dedication to an entirely different level.
For months on end, they put their personal lives on hold, and I’m not just talking about a little interruption in the everyday routine. Most coaches practically say goodbye to family, friends and free time as they focus solely on their jobs.
It really is quite remarkable.
Regardless of the sport, a coach’s day often begins long before the sun rises and ends long after it sets, leaving most to survive on naps. On top of the long hours, they must endure lengthy bus rides, tedious paperwork, countless coaches meetings and constant practices.
Additionally, even when most coaches have some downtime during the season, they spend it thinking about philosophies and searching for tweaks to improve the team.
Oh, and almost all spend a percentage of their day performing their duties as teachers, which can be just a stressful and exhausting as coaching.
If that isn’t enough, they have to deal with people like me asking them annoying questions on a regular basis.
But they do it.
I know occasionally coaches will blow me off, and I don’t blame them. Obviously, they have a lot more important things to deal with than giving me a quote, but it doesn’t matter.
I’ve talked with coaches in the freezing cold and in the sweltering heat. I’ve called them late at night, and I’ve received calls in the midst of their rare and typically brief opportunities to get away.
They take the time to email me statistics and call in scores, and I know sometimes they do so after painful losses that would make me want to crawl in a hole for a month.
This week alone, I’ve had several conversations with coaches as they drove from one meeting to the next, because that is literally the only chance they have to talk.
It takes an enormous amount of sacrifice to be a coach, and I just don’t know how they do it.
As a sports reporter, I live somewhat of a similar existence at times.
My wife and kid go days without seeing me sometimes due to the hours I work, and traveling to and from games can occasionally keep me on the road for hours at a time, but it’s not the same.
Coaches have to deal with angry players, disgruntled parents and extensive UIL regulations that rarely enter my world.
I have an enormous amount of respect for coaches, and every year around this time I’m reminded why as I begin coordinating with them for the upcoming year.
I see their practice itineraries and their travel schedules, and I hear about all the work put in prior to the season just so it can be avoided once players report, allowing coaches to focus fully on the task at hand.
It’s overwhelming just to think about, and I don’t know how they do it, but I know countless athletes and even some sports reporters are extremely thankful they do.