Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Want to tell a graduate some words of wisdom? Share this:

We go around and spend our days with people at work or school and never really know what it is they are in love with.
Unless they randomly share a story about a family member or a special treat they've made or talk about some tickets they are buying...providing the tiniest window into what moves them.

If we're lucky, they share their love.
They reveal a love for ballet, or theater or travel, or knitting, or singing, or butterfly collecting...
or whatever.

It really doesn't matter.

Whatever they love, 
that is the secret passageway to their joy.

Like a chemical reaction, joy just bubbles up.

Caroline has had a coach for two years that loves soccer.


He thinks about it at all hours of the day, researches the game, seeks out ideas for making practices engaging and learns methods of teaching very specific techniques.
He writes lengthy emails.
Offers up videos to watch.
Let's us know when the next big professional game is on so we can find a way to watch it.

I happen to have a kid who loves soccer so it's a win/win...no pun intended.

But, that's the big question...
which came first?
The chicken or the egg...did Jeremy love soccer enough to catch Caroline on fire...or was Caroline already simmering with a love that caught fire once she met a coach with the right flame.

Who cares.

What matters is that for two years Caroline has been swimming in the pool of soccer love.
And well, she's soaked.

It makes her smile...pumps her up...fills her up.

It takes a very special coach to aim for the decades after his players are done with the sport.
Decades from now, the goal is that the players will still love the sport.
Still perk up when they hear about a game or an exceptional player.
They will still smile at fancy footwork or a tremendous save all those years later.

Caroline's coach did not focus on winning.

He focused on joy.
His joy in the endeavor couldn't help but seep into the kids' idea of the sport.

His zen energy during a game radiated that joy.

Yes, yes, winning sure is fun...
but there is joy in a hard fought game that was razor close...even if you lose.
There is joy in leaving it all on the field, regardless of the score.

There's joy in a beautiful pass, a strategic kick or an incredible save...
even if the game ends with a loss.

What Jeremy knows is what all coaches who see decades down the road know:
winning or losing are just words, what matters is what you feel.

Do you feel that essential connection with your teammates?
Do you feel that what you are bringing to your team matters?
Do you feel important? Wanted? Needed?
Do you feel excited?

Kids sports today are often drudgery...
practices that go too long or meet too often.
Parents on the sidelines yelling useless tips...caring way way too much about the win.

All sorts of people are taking it way too seriously.

Tonight I'm grateful that Caroline has stood in Coach Jeremy's sunshine for two seasons.
Two seasons of JOY.

Joy in learning.
Joy in striving.
Joy in just playing the game.

There is no way to thank someone for sharing their joy...
except for maybe letting them see the joy that has been passed on. 

Is it the joy of a well placed kick?

The joy of friendship?

Or the joy of climbing trees with friends?

Too many joyful moments to count. 

Thank you, Jeremy, for your kindness, your gentle strength, your willingness to have fun and most importantly for your joy.

It's been contagious.

Coach Stacy...you're amazingly wonderful too...a true partner in sharing the joy.
Your support and dedication and sense of fun made this past season extra wonderful.