Coaches for the Win

“Moore, if your brains was dynamite, you couldn’t make a humming bird sneeze!”

They don’t make ‘em like Coach Shaw anymore. 

He “drafted” me for his high school basketball team off my ninth-grade playground. The only thing I had going for me was being over six feet tall and attending a small high school blessed with almost no athletic talent. 

I can still smell his stale menthol cigarette breath, feel his angry eyes piercing into my boy-soul demanding to know if there was a man down in there somewhere. He ran me, made me shoot endless free-throws, ran me some more, taught me how to pivot (that was a long day) and convinced me I could be aggressive on the basketball court.

I had that love-hate relationship most young men of my day had with their coach. Mostly it felt like fear. Only years later did that emotion evolve into appreciation. 

The reason so many men rattle on so about their high school athletic careers (and, yes kids, the older we get, the better we were…), is that they experienced something both magnificent and terrifying. They were pushed beyond their limits to a place where they did things they never dreamed they could do and lived to tell about it. 

If you’ve never experienced it, it can sound toxic. Sometimes it is. But for those that have tasted of the experience, it is addictive.

Except that it’s hard. Really, really hard. 

Which is where the coach comes in. 

Most people are simply not capable or willing to push themselves beyond their limits to be what they always wanted to be. The pain is too great.

Athletics is only one realm in which this is the case. Is it not also true for the academic, the entrepreneur, the medical student, the artist, the craftsman or the musician?

If you’ve been blessed to have a coach, a mentor, a tutor, a professor, a dean or even a boss, who pushed you beyond what you ever thought possible to become what you thought was only a dream…well, then you’ve tasted of the rare fruit.

When my low back started to rebel against years of bad postural habits, I turned to Rick Mathis to coach me into postural health. When I decided to try a new approach to exercise, I connected with Evan Derveloy who introduced me to CrossFit. When, at the age of 57, I decided to take up the game of golf (nobody said I was sane), I hired young Chris Rathburn to figure out how to hit the little white ball. 

Rick, Evan and Chris all helped me do what I had neither the skill, talent nor motivation to do on my own. 

Have you told yourself the lie that the great accomplishments of your life are all in the past? Nonsense! 

Decide what you want to do. Make a full-on commitment of energy, time and money. Don’t give up when things don’t go perfect in the beginning (they won’t). Just stick with it.

What’s the secret to doing all this? A coach. Your coach.

So…who will be your coach?

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