As I return from a great trip to my hometown with my dragons (Ryder and Jette) I returned to work today as I usually do after time off- on a mission to catch up on a million emails and leave at the end of the day as if I hadn’t missed a day.
But as tomorrow is August first, another deep, strong and powerful emotion emerges from either my belly or heart- or both.
I see a commercial on TV about football camp starting and suddenly I remember that the field is where I thought I’d always spend my first two weeks of August. It was that way from the time I was 14 until 41.
I ran into an old player a couple weeks back. He recognized me from across a parking lot- I hadn’t see him in 17 years. He introduced me to his wife. We exchanged a hug and some catching up small talk. But as I walked away I remembered everything about him. Most notably that he quit playing as a sophomore but came back to play as a senior after I took my first head coaching job and told him he would never regret coming back. That same kid was my shut down corner who broke his arm in the second to last game. He never missed a play. Two weeks after the season I asked if I kept my promise. He assured me I did. I asked what me missed. He said “Coach I miss the pain”.
I have a thousand anecdotes like that. Coaching was who I was. I have the word inked into my ankle. I lived for August. Loved camp. Loved the grind. Loved 20 hour days and hated that I had to sleep for four.
When I stopped coaching all together and got into an academicleadership role, I always knew that this time of year would pull at me. And it does. But now as much as I miss coaching and loved the August grind, I have come to love my new August grind. Getting ready to support teachers, students and parents in the most important of endeavors. A year of learning and growth.
So while part of me wishes I was on the field barking out plays and directions, I am finding sitting in my chair and working with a different sort of team of “coaches” suits me just as well if not better.
I’m excited about what our team will accomplish this year. Many wins. Infinite growth. For me. It is all part of the journey. Will I be on that field again in August someday? I’m sure of it. But not before a dynasty of success with the best of the best teammates makes a fabulous run.