Between watching the finals, a club meeting yesterday and the potential for me to coach high school volleyball this fall, it made me think about where sport really fits in my life.
Truth be told, I was never good at anything when I was in high school. We had a club volleyball team (it's still not a varsity sport in Ohio), but I got cut both years we had it. Despite my weird pool of friends in high school, ranging from the alt kids, who were practically anti-sports, to cheerleaders, I was always drawn to sports and worked for the athletic department doing score boards, announcing, video, or whatever they would pay me for.
By the time I got to college, I had watched enough volleyball that I finally understood the mechanics of the skills. It wasn't that I was uncoordinated, I just never processed the skills in my mind enough to mimic them. I played club ball for two years.
When I was working for a local city and school district, I had my first shot at coaching, starting with freshmen. I did that two years, and after a break of a couple of years, returned to coaching junior Olympic ball. Five years down with that already. Now as a coach I've got skills. Teach it enough and you can do it better than the people you're teaching.
So why do I do it? Why do I get involved with this? I think the biggest reason is that there's always a certain amount of hope that you'll be a part of something extraordinary. That can apply at so many different levels, ranging from something as simple as one well-executed play up through some kind of championship. Those feelings of accomplishment, shared with other people, are high in my "feeds the soul" list.
The secondary reason, or maybe primary these days, is that the paternal parts of my personality need to coach. I get to help kids develop as human beings. It goes so far beyond the sport itself. There's nothing more gratifying than a kid thanking you for helping them out.
Sports aren't for everyone, and that's OK. The things I get out of it can be found in other things in life. But for me, I can't imagine life without it.