I had a great conversation with Coach Mike Stine of Naperville Central High School near Chicago, IL.
He told me about some traditions they have in place at their program - one being Mom's week. The Sunday before the first game of the season the players don coat and tie and bring their Moms to a banquet hall for a brunch. Some Mom/Son photos are taken, the players read a letter to their Mom and the Moms put a logo sticker on the front of their son's helmets to symbolize their love for one another.
One player had his Mom abandon him and his family a few years back. The Dad asked Coach Stine if his son could just get the sticker so he would't feel left out.
Coach had a much better idea. He pulled the player aside and they talked for a while ... Coach asked him, "Have you ever written a letter to your Mom?" "No, Sir ..."
"How about it?" The player said he would think about it. Three days later the player went up to Coach to tell him that he had written the letter and mailed it.
About a week after that, on a Wednesday following a tough loss where their last second field goal attempt hit one of the uprights ... Coach said he was pretty down in the dumps about the loss ... this same player comes to talk with him again with a look on his face Coach had never seen before.
"Coach, my Mom got the letter. She read it and she called me for the first time in years. I spoke with my Mom, Coach." He welled up and that was all he could say.
Coach told me, Lou, I was moping about some game and then here comes a player whose life had changed forever. He was going to visit his Mom and regain one of the most important relationships we have in life. It really woke me up and gave me a whole new perspective on coaching.
SportsLeader has been so well received at Naperville Central that the Superintendent, the Principal and the Athletic Director are now mentoring young men as well.
Don't let your season slip away!