We all have dreams for lives. Dreams about what we need to be happy.
Like really happy.
A lasting happy.
As you probably realize by now, one dream I’ve always had is to be able to make my living as a writer. And while that is still a goal I am working toward, I’m trying to get better at appreciating those here-and-now happy moments. I’m working toward detaching the writing dream from words like:
It’s a maturation process, I suppose.
I’ve had a whole lotta happiness in my life – I just haven’t always done a great job of recognizing and appreciating those times. I suppose that’s partly because most of those things that have brought me joy came from things that I always expected. I took for granted that I would someday fall in love, that I’d have children, that I would have a home and cars and a big-screen TV and a fridge with an ice-maker and all the other accouterments of the American Middle Class.
But here’s something I didn’t expect….
Outside of those Little Pink Houses expectations and my personal BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), when I think about those experiences where I can attach the words:
I think about the experiences I’ve had coaching kid’s sports over the years. I think about:
- Sarah whose mom left her family and moved out of state after signing Sarah up for AYSO soccer. How I was able to help out by giving Sarah rides to practices and games and providing her with a pair of cleats that my own daughter had outgrown. And I remember watching Sarah’s dad erupt when she scored her first goal.
- Victoria, who somehow ended up on my team for 3 consecutive years in Park District Basketball. Victoria was not athletic and had little confidence in herself as a basketball player (and perhaps beyond). But she was tall and strong and I love a challenge. She never turned into a superstar, but she did end up playing traveling basketball and other school sports. And every time Victoria would see me out in the world, she’d go out of her way to come up to me and say, “Hi, Coach Derek!” (jeez, makes me teary eyed just thinking about it).
- Christian, who…well, I can’t really point to one thing with Christian. I just love the smile he would get on his face or the little fist-pump he would give when I told him he did a good and that I was proud of his effort.
There are literally dozens of other examples I could give, but I think you get the point. I don’t mean for this to sound self-congratulatory. Believe me, there have been kids that I didn’t connect with and a few things I’ve done as a coach that I’m not super-proud of. But why risk making you like me less?
Anyway, I’m sharing this because I feel so blessed to have had these opportunities. I know that in some small way, I’ve made a positive impact in the lives of a lot of young people. That’s a dream that I never really had. But it’s one I’ll never forget.