a letter to me.
this was written and shared to the 15 yr. old soccer / futsal team that i coach. i have edited out the specific player references, but thought it applied to everyone .
a letter to me, the 15 year old kenT who has no idea what is ahead of him from kenT the coach, the dad, the artist formerly know as kenT the 15 year old.
these random thoughts are composed in no particular order.
stand up straight. be confident in your speech. those who you are standing next to currently will always know your name and who you are, but will not necessarily be the one’s shaping your life in the future. their opinion of what you are doing, wearing or excited about does not matter.
be a beacon of light for those who need it. be firm with those who build themselves up by poking at others. helping others will help you more than you know. the cool kids end up not being the cool kids.
where you go to school (college) does not matter. how you attack the reason you are there does. learn. work. put everything into why you are there. volunteer / intern in the field that you want to be in. hang around. soak in knowledge.
as an athlete there will come a time in your not so distant future when you will say, “ i should have.”
“i should have run more in the summer.”
“i should have juggled and gotten more touches on the ball.”
“i should have put the controller down and gone outside.”
you will never get those chances back. but someone else is out there running and taking those touches. and taking your spot.
you have what it takes. after seeing those that quote “made it,” or played in “big time” programs, you can make it.
never be afraid to do things in a different way than others. everything has a different answer other than the obvious one.
be that guy. be the guy no one knows about until you show up. and when you do show up. show up. take over. be a force. win. shake hands. walk away.
work until they remember your name.
work until they can’t make a plan without you.
work at everything. not just the skill. not just the fitness. but the why and the where. develop a knack for being at the right place at the right time – every time.
but enjoy mcdonalds + chick-fil-a while you still can.
say thank you to your mom and dad.
keep your room clean.
acne will eventually go away.
learn to tie a tie.
learn to separate white’s from colors – but for your laundry only. everything else should be blended together.
open doors for girls. they like that.
say “thank you,” more than you think you need to. especially when you get married. say “thank you,” and “i’m sorry,” and “you were right”. say them often.
no matter where you are – learn to be present and accounted for.
believer it or not, you will carry a phone in your pocket. keep it there. it doesn’t need to be in front of you all the time.
learn things just to learn them.
get a job. not for the money, but to learn how things work. learn how to work with people – learn that not everyone has the same values, beliefs or priorities that you do.
the world changes fast and everything you seem to need will be at your fingertips, but really it is all just the same. do unto others as you would have them do unto you. . .
success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.
even though you won’t understand why or how or ever really believe it, know that you have something god given that influences people. use it to lead.
someday you will get to be in charge of a group of kids about your age. take advantage of that. don’t just teach them how to to kick, where to run and how to score goals.
teach them that the assist the important statistic.
teach them that they can do more as a team than as an individual.
teach them that following the path of everyone else is just a looping circle to no where.
teach them that it is only different or stupid until it works + then everyone will start doing it that way.
teach them that inviting an outsider can improve them all together.
teach them that girls can play too.
teach them to stand up for each other.
tell them often you are proud of them.
tell them individually that they are each an important part of the team.
so 15 year old kent – know that there are some really good times ahead. listen to your teachers, your coaches, and yes, even your parents – soak it all in.
enjoy three more years in high school. when coach ben bellman slots you in at right back for a varsity scrimmage, win your first tackle. knock the senior on his butt with the one after that and then enjoy the next three years.
have fun playing in west virginia. it’s hotter than heck there.
when your last game is played, and after all the practices, the training, the time that you spent dreaming about what would be next and you never get to see the field that night – and it doesn’t end like you dreamed – you will sit in a dark spot until everyone else leaves. no one will see you and they will lock the gate. you will have to climb the fence and walk the few block back to campus alone. you will always remember that feeling.
don’t forget it.
don’t ever forget it.
it will drive you for the rest of your life. never again will someone else control what you do or what you can be a part of. no one else will write your ending. it will teach you to teach and to coach – and what that means and what an impact you can have on those around you.
15 year old kent.
and make it your life’s goal to never. ever. never say i should have.