There is a cliché in high school and college athletics about priorities. I don’t know who started it, but it always goes something like, God, family, school and sport(insert whatever sport you participate in.) It seems every coach at least one time a season, describes how in “his” program, these are the priorities. His boys and coaches live by this creed. At Winton Woods High School, we also preach this doctrine. However, I don’t know if we know any better what form this actually looks like on a daily basis. Let me offer some insight on how I try to live this creed.
Priority #1: God
After my father’s death in August 2002, God has become a central part of my life. What this means is, I have really tried to communicate with God. I’ve really tried to figure out what God wants in my life; what my mission is. So I try to pray everyday. This includes formal prayers in the morning, Gospel reflections and prayers from the heart. In the evening I try to pray an evening prayer of reflection of the day. I pray a couple decades of the rosary daily as well, asking our Mother Mary for guidance. Then of course, I attend Mass every Sunday and get a day of fasting in once a week. I do all of this for many reasons. Saying thanks to God, begging for help, acts of worship, etc.. I’ve seen God manifest Himself so much in the last eight years of my life that I really believe in Him. He must come first. I have to do these things, I want to do these things. Ultimately, God helps me be a better husband, father, teacher, friend and coach. I must always put time aside for Him.
Priority #2: Family
I tease my wife that she is high maintenance….and she agrees with a laugh because that is how it is supposed to be. I’m discovering my kids are high maintenance too. I never thought having a family would be so much work but create so much joy. For me, family means when I come home from school or practice, its family time. There is no sitting down and watching TV or hanging out. Maria(my 3 year old), needs attention, Alec my 10 year old boy, needs to do his homework. Raegan, my 15 year old daughter, needs to be taken to piano lessons, and Krista my beautiful wife and I need to talk about our days and our common mission of educating the youth of today. There is no such thing as “my time” when you have three kids. All work and wrestling must stop when family calls. This means missing work when the kids are sick, leaving a coaching clinic early because family is in from out of town, sleeping on the floor of my 3 year old’s bedroom to make sure she doesn’t escape down the hall off of her new toddler bed, or watching wrestling tape at Midnight after the kids are in bed. Family must take quantity time.
Priority #3: School
My job is a high school history teacher. I would love to do wrestling all day…but I can’t, I have 5 classes to teach, 125 students total. For me, school means teaching, active involvement. Not, “you students get to work, so I can work on wrestling”. Or “you students get to work, so I can look on ESPN all bell.” I am paid a salary, I have a duty to do my job and to do it well. I’m not going to lie, from time to time, it’s hard. Teenagers and school work don’t jive all the time, their motivation is lacking and it is frustrating. But it’s what I get paid for. We all must remember to not neglect our work.
Priority #4: Wrestling
I love wrestling! I’m an athlete and a coach and I love the sport. I could do it all day, every day. I work hard to improve my players abilities and to improve my own knowledge and teaching of the sport. I want to do it right and I feel my wrestlers deserve the best coaching they can get. So I put my heart and soul into it……..I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, when I coach, there are a lot of extras; senior trips to Gatlinburg, special 3000 workouts, community service, “optional workouts”, wrestling camp, etc.. I feel that every kid should have the opportunity to get a special program to work in. So in season I’m going six days a week for four months. In the fall and spring, I work on wrestling five days a week, three days with the kids and two days working on the program. I am keeping my summers free…..for now at least! It is just how it should be…thank God He has given me this attitude.
I have discovered I really don’t have much time for anything else for once in my life. It saddens me from time to time. I used to be a popular guy, a lot of fun. It’s not that I don’t like to goof off and have fun with old buddies, it’s just that my life is now a mission. There is work to be done…and I get great joy every day in this work; loving God, loving family, liking work and loving wrestling.
I hope you have the same joy in your life…and if you don’t hopefully soon you’ll discover it.
Winton Woods Wrestling, where our mission is to train warrior boys to become championship wrestlers and championship men!