It is not wise to write blogs that many readers may not understand, but perhaps this one is worth it. In fact, I am certain that thirty-eight coaches from Medford to the Maldives and Santa Cruz to Sweden will appreciate these words as they travel safely home after a glorious TOVO week.
There are X’s and there are O’s. We can play wide or break the lines. We can press high or low. We can be jokers, play for the blue or sit this one out. We can open our hips to see what we play. And more than all of this combined, we can open our hearts to see WHY we play and explore the depth of our relationships as coaches, as colleagues, as friends.
There is a football of tactics and technology. There is also a football of “fishy-fishy come over the sea”. There is a football of mobility, stability and dual force. There is also a football of a Golden Duck sipping the sun on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. There is a football of rondos and ratios. There is also a football of sandals and light blue trousers.
And there is more. Beyond the outer reaches – perhaps beyond our carnelian bay – there is an Alejandro. In one genuine heart we see our best selves, we see our best hopes and we see the world as it might be. We see of pitch full of passion and compassion. We see patience. We listen. We contribute. We care.
Learning’s companion is vulnerability. So, how deep you want to learn depends upon how deeply you want to share you. Not the bold and brave you. Not the you of tournament trophies and scholarships secured, but the you who still wonders. The you who seeks laughter in a locker room. The you who walks the shore to listen - not to the waves crashing in upon us, but the compassion streaming in around us. The real you is a Scot lost in Cornwall and a Scousie in shredded shorts. The real you loves ping pong and chimichurri, the spice of all things whole and noble.
And when we fly home we may realize when we were most at home. And we may just long for a seaside villa and a sleepy Shae who perches his solemn head serenely as we run forward to a destiny that we must fulfill. And we will know profoundly why coaching matters.