As a freshman in high school trying out for a sport I was nervous. I was nervous to play in front of the older, better players. Even after making the Junior Varsity team as a freshman, I was nervous about the season, but Coach Kowalewski made me feel comfortable and welcomed on the team.
Coach K made practice exciting and fun. I enjoyed going to practice and being with my teammates, but not just my teammates; I enjoyed being around Coach K. He made the environment lively and would always crack jokes. He made sure everyone felt a part of the team and that no one felt left out.
Coach K always made working as a team his top priority. As a team building activity, he brought popsicle sticks with our names on them along with our numbers as well. He then had us all break the popsicle sticks in half and throw them together, he then taped all the halves together. We all went around trying to break the popsicle sticks; none of us could. His intent for this activity was to show that when we are a team, we have an unbreakable bond and are stronger together.
During one of my games freshman year I took the ball to the side of my head causing me to get dizzy and see stars. I was taken off the field and talked to the trainer who said I had symptoms of a concussion. I had no time to talk to Coach K after the game but he texted me afterwards. “Hi Grace! Just checking in-what was the conversation after the game with the trainers? Is your head feeling better?” With just those few sentences Coach K made me feel cared for. He personally reached out and checked up on me to make sure I was okay.
My junior year I made Junior Varsity again; I was really upset. I was contemplating whether I want to play or not because I didn’t want to feel bad about making JV as a junior. I told Coach K that I might just quit, but he convinced me to stay on the team. He told me how I’m a good role model for the other plays and have a good work ethic. He recognized everything I would bring to the team and why I should still play.
Coach K is someone who is fair, honest, caring, and understanding. He treats everyone with respect and kindness. He made me feel wanted and welcomed when I felt like I didn’t belong. He made me feel recognized and talented even though I thought otherwise.
Coach Kowalewski gave me the best last soccer season I could’ve asked for. I’m forever grateful for him and allowing me to excel as a soccer player. I’ve never told him this, but I thank him for not letting me give up and quit.