Jun 04

My Dream Part Two-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

I ordinarily use this platform to share my thoughts on the latest happenings in sports, but today I want to share a life changing experience I had, which occurred yesterday afternoon if you are a follower of this blog, you know I often talk about how special it is to be a coach in any sport. My feelings about coaching are this, being entrusted with the task of guiding young minds on and off the field of play goes beyond any ball that goes into a net, or any record-setting mile run, or even a championship, you see sports is more than that, along with the athletic skills athletes develop, they also develop emotionally, and the best teams come together as a family to reach a common goal. I just completed my fourth season of coaching; I have gotten so much enjoyment out of this rewarding, sometimes demanding task I may not have the best coaching record, but for me it’s less about the numbers, and more about the people I assist in developing. So, a person might think I would not be looking for another career that could be just as rewarding, especially if I continue to realize my dream of coaching season after season. I am the type of person, that always looks to make the world a better place, that may sound cliché, but it couldn’t be truer. I was thinking to myself how can I do this while still coaching? Late in the fall, or in the early winter it escapes me exactly when this occurred, I received a phone call from a person who has known me for many years, years ago, Leslie Cook worked with my mother at the Family Guidance Center. Leslie and my mom were working together to help make the local community a better place, by speaking to kids about the dangers of using drugs. Instead of succumbing to the temptation of using drugs, they both encouraged the kids to handle the adversity they are facing in their lives differently, maybe by talking to other adults, or joining a club to make friends who they could talk to about the adversity each one of them were experiencing. During this time Leslie overheard many conversations in which my mom would be advocating for me so that I could succeed in my many different endeavors. This was adversity in its truest sense. Of course my mom would talk to Leslie about the different types of adversity her and my family, including myself, was so frustrated with. So back to the phone call I received in the late fall, or early winter, Leslie said Franklin Township Elementary School, where she is a social worker was having a Diversity Day, and she would love for me to talk about how I overcame the challenges in my life to accomplish my many goals. Immediately I thought about that question of how I can make the world a better place while still coaching. Leslie answered that question for me; little did she know her request would change my life. When I accept a new challenge, there are many feelings that go through my mind and body, the most overwhelming feeling I experience, is the feeling of fear, Can I actually do this? The question that immediately came into my head was what will I say? Normally, what I do before constructing my presentation is, have a conversation with myself about what method will get my message across the best, and people might think I am crazy while this is occurring, but it works. After much consideration, and some consultation with others, I decided the best way to get my message of never let anyone tell you you can’t do something, was by using a PowerPoint presentation. My next task was to figure out what I was going to put in the presentation, I knew I didn’t want to just talk to the children; I wanted to get them involved in some way. It took me a few days to construct the presentation, and some help from others with the graphics, but when I finished the presentation I knew in my heart, that it was going to be great. Presentation day, that feeling of fear was back, but I also had butterflies of excitement in my stomach, because I knew this could be the first page of a new chapter in my life. Remember that adversity I talked about, well I experienced a certain type of adversity that could have ruined the whole presentation before it even started. I was so nervous that I went to the wrong school, luckily where I was, and where I was supposed to be was a short drive. As Leslie was introducing me to the children, butterflies were flying around in my stomach, not sure if they were nervous or excited butterflies, probably both. As I started to give my presentation, my nerves started to calm down. What really helped was looking at all of the children who were so attentive. Witnessing this really made me feel like I was already making a difference, even though my presentation was not yet complete. At the conclusion of my presentation, I asked my audience if they had any questions. Before I could even get the words out of my mouth, the children’s hands flew up in the air, this made me smile. Their questions ranged from my favorite sports teams to what strategies I use when I face adversity in my life. After I finished my presentation, Leslie informed me that she also works at Mansfield Elementary School, and she said she would love for me to give my presentation at Mansfield. I was ecstatic at the offer, which I instantly accepted. Yesterday, I experienced the same emotions that I experienced when I was about to speak at Franklin. The difference was, along with those other feelings, I now had a feeling of confidence, because I knew I had done this before and nailed it! As I started to give this presentation, the children, like the children at Franklin were so attentive, which put me at ease. Although I wasn’t as nervous, seeing the smiles on the children’s faces took all my nervousness away. At the conclusion of my presentation, one of the children did something that may be considered simple, she waved goodbye, and a short while later, a group of girls came over to thank me for my time. At that moment, I realized that I had made a difference which was my ultimate goal! This blog is my way of saying thank you to both schools, I would like to say to the children that you all truly taught me a lot about myself, and to the staffs I would like to say thank you for allowing me to speak at your school. Never give up!