“Coach”

It’s been a looooong time since my last post. Starting a new business on top of an already demanding schedule as a golf coach can certainly make writing a chalenge. (See my other site.)

The strain on the back, elbow and eyes from editing photos and ad layouts has ironically made my relationship with the computer a little less personal. I guess that’s what they mean by “familiarity breeds contempt”?

But then that rare spark happens. And you just have to give it the attention it deserves.

Thank God for tablets. (I’m late to the party I know.)

I recently participated in a mini basketball league at the school where my eldest, Chelsea, is a 5th grader. It was International Christian Academy’s 30th anniversary, and the games were supposed to make the celebration more interesting.

The idea was funny at first. But the eventual sight of co-parents (read fellow old guys), faculty, staff and bus drivers defying age and gravity – all in the spirit of friendly competition – was very encouraging.

And so was the result.

With everyone on our team contributing, the parents swept the series convincingly. The pain (and the “fragrance” of Salonpas) was definitely worth it.

Personally, I had the most fun learning from playing coach Kit Almeda, who also happens to coach the middle school basketball team of ICA. It was quite refreshing for me to be on the receiving end for a change. And the experience has only helped to reinforce what I’ve always believed about winning.

Over the years, I’ve observed a certain intangible quality that’s common among successful athletes at any level (including this one). It’s difficult to describe, but you just recognize it when you see it.

Coach Kit had it. Loads of it.

It’s not that he was the best player on the team in terms of physical ability. It’s not that he wanted to win more than anyone else, although the passion was clearly there. There was just this ridiculous sense of calm… this unwavering self-belief that offers no apologies. Nor is it boastful.

It’s beyond confidence. It’s courage that’s not dependent on circumstances. A readiness to embrace adversity… and call it friend.

Like I said, tough to describe. Especially since he never said anything about it explicitly. But somehow I’m pretty sure he’ll agree.

Many of us are afraid of failure. And we never quite succeed because all our efforts revolve around it… to not fail. But I believe just as many are simply afraid of success… of becoming that which we’re not yet ready to accept. So when that so-called defining moment arrives, we choke.

No such issues for the guy known as “The Emergency Kit”. With nothing to prove, his best still found its way to the surface. To respond differently was almost perverse.

Like asking a bird not to fly.

Which brings me to my conclusion. And some of you may have already heard this from me before. Winning doesn’t make winners. Winning is done by winners. It comes not so much as a result of trying, but as a result of be-ing.

Yes, talent and skill are important. They’re the engine. Character is the fuel.

Hours after the final buzzer sounded, a simple celebration took place nearby. It was apparent that Coach Kit was pleased. Not from defeating our opponents. It was a deeper kind of satisfaction. The kind that says, “I did what I was meant to do.” It’s not a coincidence that his teammates, as good as they were, got even beter because of his presence.

Then it hit me. “What if we didn’t win the championship?”

I wish you could all see the smile on his face.

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