Today I am writing a brief post about one of the hardest times in my life. I was coaching at a local high school and halfway through the season our head coach and my good friend passed away suddenly and unexpected. This was a huge loss for his family, students, athletes and the community as a whole. I am going to go into all the details of what happened, but instead will talk about the loss of a dear friend and coach and how the coaching staff and team responded to that loss. Losing important people in out lives is never easy and brings a rush of emotion that we deal with for sometimes months or even years. I was the offensive coordinator at the time so when my friend passed I was asked to continue the season as the interim head coach. I remember the conversation with the principal when he asked me to take things and finish the season.
I gladly took the responsibility not because it was a chance to take the program over. It was the right thing to do in honor of my friend, players, community and school. I went home that day and just prayed and cried about it. This was a really bad situation and I had to find a way to step up, hide my emotions and feelings and stand tall for my players. I sat down and came up with a plan that I wanted to use to try to manage the coming weeks activity which included a memorial service, a funeral, practice. planning, teaching, counseling crying and overcoming the fact that I was not Coach C. My goal never was to replace such a great man, it was simply to honor him. I will leave the football story at that and move into the emotional, physical and spiritual impact that this loss and the events that followed took on my mental, physical and spiritual help.
As you can imagine, by the end of the week I was broken in all three areas. I was wore out, tired, emotional, couldn’t sleep and many other things that were going on. I was trying to manage life at home, life at work, coaching, grieving and supporting the players, coaches and staff. When tragedy strikes we often are tasked with the responsibility of stepping up and leading through these tough times. We do not expect it or ask for it and without warning bam, we are now sitting on the toughest situation of our lives. I have always been a person to step out front when needed and do what I can in whatever capacity. I willingly took the responsibility with a goal of just keeping things as normal as possible as we all worked to overcome the loss of our coach and friend.
1- It is in tragedy and strife that we become our strongest. It takes courage, strength, internal fortitude and drive to keep going when things are really bad.
2- It is in tragedy and strife that we realize just how important people were to us when we tell them goodbye one final time.
3- It is in tragedy and strife that we learn to overcome the physical, mental and spiritual beating we take by just moving forward.
4- It is in tragedy and strife that we see how pushing emotions, grief, anger, and all the other emotions to the side can build us up, but also tear us down later on.
5- It is in tragedy that we honor those we love, help their family, our community and friends out who are in need.
6- It is in tragedy that we look to our faith in God, family, friends and community to make it, to deal with it and to adapt. We seek counsel and grow in our faith in all things good through the bad.
We all face tragedy, especially the lose of loved ones in life. We fight the emotional, physical and spiritual burdens brought on by that. But we also step up, rise up, battle, fight and eventually overcome all of it and live with the precious memories of our dearly departed souls we miss everyday going forward.