by Ethan Mechenich, grade 12
Freshman year I was very shy and didn’t know how to be myself around people that I didn’t know. So being on a volleyball team was at first a challenge to connect with my teammates, but there was one person who made this so much easier.
Ms. Paradowski was my freshman year volleyball coach. She is the associate principal at Arrowhead Union High School so I knew she already has a lot going on. Her spending that much of her time to coach a bunch of freshmen shows how much she cares.
As we began our season, she wasn’t just my coach; she was someone who would talk to me and see how I was doing. She was always very nice to me, but I also knew if I made a mistake, and not just in volleyball, that she would be the one who would talk to me about why the mistake was wrong but then help me get past it. That is what made me respect her. She could be very nice but also be real and tell me if something I did was wrong.
As a coach she wanted each of us to succeed, not only as a player but in our own lives. For me she was always there to help no matter what I needed. I knew I could go to her for advice if I needed.
As a coach she pushed us to become the best players we could be. When I first got into volleyball, I didn’t think it was much of a physical sport where I would need to work very hard. I was wrong about that because to start each practice we had to do a workout to warm up. It seemed pointless at the time, but it helped by just making me more in shape and showing me that I was going to have to work during the season.
I remember another time when she was explaining a drill to us that we have never done. We had to practice diving on the floor. To make sure we were doing it correctly she showed us herself what to do. She was diving on the floor and this made me think if she can do it I can too. So that was just a way of coaching that made me want to do the drills in the right way with full effort.
Then as I grew up and played JV and Varsity volleyball there were many times when she would compliment me on how I was playing. That meant a lot to me because there were not a lot of people who did that. I also felt like I wanted to make her proud because she was the one who saw me as a freshman and how much I did improve. So it meant a lot coming from her because I knew it was genuine.
Thank you, Ms. Paradowski, for always being so kind to me and helping me become such a better volleyball player and overall better person. I really appreciate what you have done for me and many others.