Who Is Your Hero?
We have a challenge for you. Do you have a hero in your life? I want you to take a few moments and write about him or her. Yes, that means you have to stretch your fingers out and do some typing or better yet, make it a hand-written note. When you are done, send it to your hero. That simple act will not only make that person's day, but it will be your way of thanking them for all they do in your life.
To start the ball rolling, I thought I would share a letter that I wrote to my hero. Everyone knows that my wife is my hero and that I have written a number of stories about her. But there is someone else who has been my hero since sixth grade, when I moved from the suburbs of Chicago, IL to the small town of Clinton, WI.
Here is a letter I sent out to Bill Greer this past winter. He is someone who has had a tremendous positive impact in my life as a teacher and coach, and now as someone I coach with at Clinton High School.
Heroes Among Us
By: Michael T. Powers
You have been and always will be a role model for me and literally thousands of students and players who have been influenced by you as a teacher and a coach.
From the first day I met you, when we moved here in the sixth grade, I have watched you, copied you, and taken many of life's lessons from you. While I only had you for a coach one time, (when you subbed for baseball) I have watched, listened, and "stolen" coaching methods, ideas, and mannerisms from you. My whole coaching style and philosophy is 90% Coach Greer and 10% everyone else.
My respect for coaches was incredible when I first started coaching in 1989. I was totally overwhelmed when I realized the tremendous "POWER" that coaches have to influence a student's life for good or for bad. It was almost too much for me when I realized how I could totally destroy a player's self-confidence by uttering a single word, or even by giving the wrong facial expression at times. I remember praying and asking for help so that I would always keep the players and what was really important in their lives first, and then worry about wins and losses second. One of the quotes that has always meant a lot to me and has always reminded me of you is:
"Coaching is to create the best person we can out of the athletes we meet. Our secondary goal is to make them the best athlete we can."
My goal for any team has always been that the players can look back on their year and say to themselves, 'Those were some good times." If a team has a great year record-wise, then that is a bonus. Ten years from now not many people are going to remember who won the conference, or which team went to state, but if they built relationships with each other that lasted, felt like they accomplished something personally, and can look back and laugh about the fun they had, then I feel like I have done my job as a coach. That is something that you have done remarkably well. Besides having an incredible win loss record in every sport you have taken on, you have taught so many "Life Lessons" that have affected players for the rest of their lives. My wife has story after story of things you did when she had you as a coach. It seems to me that the things she remembers most are those that had little to do with basketball, and everything to do with life.
Athletes play their hearts out for Coach Greer, not because they fear him, but because they don't want to disappoint him. When an athlete plays out of fear, or to show up a coach, their whole heart is not in it. But when an athlete plays hard for themselves and because they don't want to disappoint a coach, then they are playing with their whole being. When that coach continues to build confidence, the player begins to play not only for themselves, but also for their teammates. I respect you most for that. I have heard many a player reflect those same thoughts about you.
When I first started coaching at Clinton High School, I was intimidated out of my mind. I will always remember my second practice. We were scrimmaging your team, and you were the only one who was talking, teaching, and coaching. I was too afraid to say anything in front of you for fear that I would be wrong. You pulled me aside and said, "You know, Mike, you can start saying things to your players anytime now. Just relax and be yourself."
The legend had given me permission to talk, and it was OK to do so!
I have a long way to go as far as basketball knowledge is concerned, but I have been learning that and what is most important in life from you.
Thank you for who you are, what you stand for, and for being someone I have always looked up to. I look forward to the future, except for that sad day when you decide to hang up the whistle for the last time. I hope and pray that day is far from now, but wanted you to know that you have touched so many lives, that anytime you walk away from the game, you can hold you head up high and be proud for being willing to let the Lord use you in so many ways.
Every man has his faults, but besides my dad when I was growing up, you have always been the man I most respected and admired in life...... and I know I am on a very long list of people.
Who is your hero? Take some time this week and write to them. You never know, it might make all the difference in the world to hear from you!
Michael with his mentor Bill Greer at a recent Clinton HS volleyball match.