Thank you letter for the men and women who help make sports great.
Words you probably don't hear near enough. Now, more than ever, however, they need to be said.
Baseball, softball, football, basketball and all prep sports coaches put in endless hours, doing Herculean tasks for what turns out to be pennies per hour.
And while we know you're not in it for the money, we hope a giant "Thank You" can go a long ways right now.
We're in uncertain times right now. No one has answers. And though no one is playing games, your job hasn't stopped.
Most coaches are educators trying to figure out distance learning. If that wasn't enough, you're trying to keep you team together when it literally can't get together.
So you innovate.
Virtual meetings. Online lessons. Text messages with gentle reminders and perspective that this won't last forever and subtle — or not so subtle — hints to remain focused on mind and body for the time that sports will re-enter our lives.
And that's why sports — and you, the coach — are so essential. You teach young men and women to stay on path, persevere, evolve.
Life is full of challenges and the lessons imparted from sports better prepares, we think, athletes for real-world scenarios than their peers.
How do you respond to failure? You teach those lessons.
How do you rise to meet your goal? You provide that motivation.
How do you, as an individual, work within the framework of a team? You fit the puzzle pieces together.
The reasons you coach are as varied as the style employed throughout the land.
Some repay a debt to a mentor that kept them on the straight and narrow.
Some to stay close to the game; no longer able to play but still able to affect an outcome.
But no matter the reason, the calling is noble.
You're tough when you have to be; gentle when the situation calls. You instill discipline, yet show compassion, fairness and kindness.
And through it all, you're judged, outwardly, on how many W's you hang on the scoreboard. But your impact goes far beyond wins, losses, Xs and Os.
Those winning moments are the instant gratification for the summer sweat, the two-a-day conditioning drills, the Tuesday midseason practice.
But the long-term payback comes in the form of players returning on Homecoming Night as adults with a path and purpose. It's receiving wedding invitations and birth announcements from the lives you helped forge.
And sometimes, it's as simple as walking in a grocery store and hearing those magical words "Hey, coach."
We know this stoppage will someday end, and when it does the resumption of games will help heal a weary nation.
You'll be at the forefront of that rebirth and busy at your craft. So in case we're caught up in the joy of sports returning, let us tell you again … in advance … Thank you, coach.