When I first saw you coaching I was 11, I was intimidated but I respected you. I saw how passionate you were in volleyball and helping girls be the best players they could be. I could tell you coached with your heart.
Then, next thing I knew, you were my coach for the 13s team. You pushed us to be the best. You tested and pushed my limits to improve my skills. With you as my coach I came a long way, and so did every team you coached.
Despite being busy, you found time to help me. You offered to give me private lessons. It made me feel accepted and seen, something I’ve never felt from a coach before. I progressively got better because of your advice and dedication.
Not only did you affect me on the court but you also affected me as a person. You were like a second mom to me. I always looked up to you. I could see how driven, dedicated, passionate, and hardworking you were. I wanted to grow up and be even a fraction of what you were for me.
You never gave up on me; you pushed and encouraged me to be the best I could be. You wanted me to be successful. Because of you I made the varsity team my freshman year, even though I wanted to give up. Because of you I continued to play.
Then sophomore year came and it was harder for me after my mom passed away. I only went to the volleyball camps because I didn’t want to disappoint my dad, but most importantly I didn’t want to disappoint you.
I wanted to quit playing, but you were there for me. You pulled me aside at one of the camps and we walked down a dark empty hallway in the school; you looked me in the eyes and said: “I’m here for you and if you ever need anything come to me.” You hugged me and we started crying.
It wasn’t easy coming back to play after losing my mom. You made it easier.
You were there for me, you were patient. You offered to help out my family and I however you could. I never had a coach who cared for me like you did. You took your time, you were personal– not everything was about volleyball with you. You made me feel understood, and if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have continued to play volleyball.
Though I ended up moving away for junior year I often think about you. I think about the lessons you taught me, even if you didn’t know it. You taught me to work hard, to be successful, to hold my head up, but most importantly you taught me to be passionate in the things I love. You taught me to be my best self. Thank you, Coach Kathy.