THE NET PRODUCT FOR NOVEMBER 14
“So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Good Night. I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.” Many of you know these lyrics from the movie classic The Sound Of Music. Those were my thoughts as I exited the Charleston Civic Center along with twenty-one wonderful young Knights Volleyball players. To be in the Civic Center during the state volleyball tournament is something to be taken in and appreciated.
The season is now in the history books and on this day, much time will be spent reflecting on the season. The history books will show that the Knights finished as State Runners-Up, were crowned the Little Kanawha Conference Champions, received the Merle Davis Sportsmanship Award from league officials and that the Knights finished with a 35-14 record. I’m a volleyball historian and I love what goes into those books for eternity.
However, as the elder coach of the state tournament, I see things far differently than others in the coaching fraternity, many of whom are in their late 20s or early 30s. I’m nearly thirty years their senior. More than a few of those coaches were literally wiped out by their season-ending loss. Some were in tears, some considering giving up coaching, others looking for a bridge to jump off. This coach felt none of that and I will share with you what the grandpa of coaches told these young coaches.
Listen, as the coach of the Knights, we did not win a state title. Maybe down the road we will, but not this year. But I am very proud of my girls and our program. We won so many tremendous titles that most people are unaware of and never will be, unless they give it some serious thought. I was 21-0 with regards to young people running away from their home, a victory I share with their parents and something that is not to be taken for granted at a time when we are constantly hearing about this happening. All of my students stayed in school. We had a perfect season with regards to players taking drugs, being transported for an overdose, or even using alcohol. Again 21-0, just young people doing their best to be role models for the many little ones who follow them. Perhaps even more impressive is there was no poor sportsmanship posted on social media and no drama caused by social media, all at a time when social media causes young people so many issues. No school office referrals and zero incidences of disrespect shown to authority figures or to any adults. I can’t take credit for all of that. Nor can I take all the credit for any success on the court. Most credit goes to their parents. But just maybe some of it has to do with their involvement in volleyball. Coach, you have much to be proud of if you think about it. We all want to win on the scoreboard. But there are big wins that don’t show up on the scoreboard for all to see. With age does come a little wisdom, and I once also felt the sky was falling over a post-season loss. I now see things from a different perspective.
And with age comes an appreciation for all things in life. With that I want to say thanks to our communities who gave our girls so much support this year and certainly in Charleston. To quote a AAA coach, “I wish that we had the kind of community support that your team has.” Also, thanks to Mr. Ed Parsons and the Star News for allowing me to share some volleyball thoughts. And finally to all of you who have read this column, take care and God bless all of you.