Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sometimes You Have To Quit

I just got home from the Ohio High School State Wrestling Championships, and realized that a decision I made four years ago paid off for a young man.

I used to be a wrestling coach. I did it for 13 years and those kids are still to this day an important part of my life. As a matter of fact, I attended tonight's event with a former wrestler.

As a coach, it was pretty much a year round commitment.  Wrestling season begins in November and ends in the first week of March, but that is just the season.  The off-season consisted of workouts, training, and traveling all over the eastern U.S. to wrestle the best competition.  I loved doing it, I believe most of my kids did as well, and they benefitted from that commitment.  In 2005 I had the opportunity to coach my first state champion, and it was a feeling like no other.  All of the time and hard work that kid put in paid off.  It was almost as if I was just along for the ride.  I thought this would be the first of many that I would be a part of in my career.

A month later our first daughter was born, and four years after that, our second daughter.  I have a very understanding wife, and when it was just the two of us, she understood and supported the amount of time I put in with my wresters.  Add two children to the mix, and I would not say she was less understanding, but I began regretting the amount of time I was away from them.

I had some very talented wrestlers coming up through our youth program, some that I was very confident in their potential to stand atop the podium at the state tournament.  However I had come to a realization.  I was not going to be able to be as committed to these wrestlers as I was to my previous wrestlers.

So I made a decision, and it was both selfish and selfless.  I quit.  Selfishly I wanted to spend more time with my family.  Selflessly, the kids I coached deserved to have a coach who would be committed to them the way I no longer would.  My biggest fear, was not being committed and actually becoming a detriment to their dreams of glory.

Tonight I watched one of those kids win a state title.  The coach that replaced me reminded me a great deal of myself in my early years.  He was going to be able to provide those kids with the opportunities that I no longer was willing to provide.  Four years later, I realized quitting probably enabled that kid to win a state championship because I feared I was only going to get in his way.

I had so many people ask me tonight if I regretted quitting because I passed up an opportunity to coach another state champ?  Deep down in my heart, I believe that quitting helped his path in getting there, and I could not have been more proud of that kid tonight.

1 comment:

  1. WOW, Ryan! That was really powerful. You could just "feel" the struggle in your decision making process. But alas...look at that, it all worked out in the end. It seems to me you saw the forest through the trees. Thank you so much for sharing.