A Lesson In Integrity – On and Off Stage – The Athletic Excellence & Sportsmanship Gala 2015

There is so much magic in moments.  Many moments that contain that magic happen behind the scenes and maybe that is part of the magic.  As a coach, I opened a whole new door of learning to myself and how I would pass that transition out of school to my athletes on the Cross Country Team.  There were so many carry over’s from the class and real life that would be incorporated into the long runs, the stretching sessions, the early morning on buses and the late nights returning and yet, I never felt alone.  There was something truly magical in the moments that we just shared together as a team.  When it came to open the windows along with the doors to the public to show everyone where our heart, spirit, and motivation came, it is even more special.  For me, there was magic when I could smell the pine, losing myself in the run, and finding so many people so close to me right there at the finish line.  This was just in Delaware.

In Mexico, as we began the May 28th Athletic Excellence & Sportmanship Gala, I honestly had this barrel of emotion.  I missed so badly the moments I kept close to my heart on that Cross Country course or Track & Field course, yet I was 100% grateful for the moments I was given here in Mexico to play a part in rousing the crowd by shaking some fur, providing supplies to help yet another group of students, to literally being made to feel a part of so many moments, whether it be as a spectator, a cameraman, a helper, and countless other moments  – the Bear Boosters, the Athletic Coaches and Staff (EVERYONE), and especially the athletes themselves, when they did not even try were going out of their way to make me feel a part of an experience that truly is (not was) but IS STILL unforgettable.

I sat there ready to take video and pictures and felt this onrush of emotion just honored to have been asked to be a part, especially the days I was grouchy, complaining, and just overall moody, and everyone still put up with me and invited me into their world.  I realized when I coached and realized it this very night, a new definition of family was defined and continued to be shaped by all the experiences and involvements of the aforementioned.  Teruhi and Hugo manned some of the worst conditions when the electricity went down, and another realization – even through the MOST frustrating times, the times when you are exhausted, tired, moody, and feel completely negative, their is an unspoken faith when you have strong individuals around you to continue to move forward, be in on the field, on the stage, in the pool, in the locker room, in the light and sound booth, at the beginning of a season or at the end, the person beside you pushing you forward provides one of those very moments that you will retain in your heart for infinity.

I saw this very feeling every time an athlete made it to the stage and was recognized for the season highlights and contributions.  Sports certainly can get a bad rap when you look in the world at the athletes versus teachers, pay, respect etc, however, I also have seen the flip side of this.  As an AP/Honors, Remedial/ Yearbook, and Rehabilitation Center English teacher in many various locations, I always found Sports as a conversation that often did not require a word.  Yet, it let me share something with others that I normally never would have been able to previously.  It often led individuals to succeed in areas off their athletic turf as well, and truly those individuals that serve as educators and not merely teachers, understand how the moments outside of the classroom can define the moments within.

I can list every single ASF sport and remember moments from every single sport that put a smile on my face, I was lucky to have been there to remember such events.  The magic of our ASF Athletes is the very best have this unbelievable selfless heart that keeps pushing and pushing for success, and you feel like exploding with pride when you see it happen on and off the field.  So many names roll through my head – Payton Alley, Coach Velarde, Izabel Guzman, Dominque, Coach Powell, Mrs. Alley, Lynette Rivera, Lisa, Robert Wilson, Carson, Nicolas, Ricardo, Juan, Andres, countless coaches, Papa Bear (Mr. Gomez)  himself, the sports support staff, COUNTLESS names and one universal truth remains –

If you did not make it to at least one game for each sport then of course you have no idea what you are missing.  However, when you do witness at least one of every sport for the whole school year, a whole new definition and relationship forms with the athletes you see and when they become students, something totally magically begins to develop.  This “magic” is the sheer maturity, motivation, and spirit that these athletes carry with them every, and the individuals in the form of the coaches and support staff that spend COUNTLESS hours on the fields before we even THINK about waking up let alone at night we each have been long asleep.  That part is not involved with money and could never be compensated, but the athletes and students they have created as a result – priceless.

The parents have never ceased to amaze me, there could be literally five people at an event and with the right support from individual parents? – it feels as if there are no seats left in the house.  The amazing contributions of the drummers at the football games, Papa Bear being the voice of motivation at various times, the Bear Boosters always being an essential part of bringing so many people together, the magic of creating the feeling of a team, with so many individuals? – there is no award available that can truly celebrate these successes.

The faces of individuals that became the backbone of this whole magical aura? – they simply were laying the stepping stones for the future to carry on this for so many people.  Was I honored to be in such a ceremony? – Honored does not even carry a weight to how heavy the sentimentality was at this ceremony – Mrs. Alley and the whole Athletic Teams went on to mention me as a thanks for the contributions Repentino. made on Super Saturdays – I was blown out of my seat.  Truly, not only did their assistance get Repentino. in a stable position, but planted an interest in how Repentino. created a Sports Journalism branch for the 2015-2106 season and is training individuals to do pre, mid, and post game interviews so more people will get to know the athletes, know the matches, and know the experiences – and not just at the end of the year.  All of this OPPORTUNITY – has and is a way that we become more entrenched with the level of how much each athlete gives of themselves in so many areas, not just at a desk or the results of a test.

If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.”

~ Mia Hamm

“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.”

– Knute Rockne

“The body can achieve what the mind can conceive.”

– Coach Doakes


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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