SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Monday, January 9, 2012

What is Your Calling in Life?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my time with SportsLeader has been the relationships I've been able to build with so many amazing coaches. Steve Bennett is an amazing example of this. A few years back, when Steve was stepping away from coaches, I felt a loss. Well I'm thrilled to share Steve's testimony of part of his journey.

Maybe you will identify with his story. I recommend sharing this with all the coaches on your staff.

It is a GRACE to know one's calling in life.

As you know I coached football (also, soccer, basketball and baseball along the way) for roughly 8 years at St Gabriel following my son from 1st through 8th Grades.  My son’s 4th, 5th and 6th grade we utilized the Sportsleader program with his teams.  7th and 8th grade on a limited basis being an asst coach, although the Jersey Ceremonies these years were amazing!

After my son Michaels 8th grade year I decided to hang up my whistle and not coach football.  My reasoning was to relax and enjoy my son’s freshman football experience at St Xavier from the stands.  I also thought it would be good for me to devote more time in the fall to my career in Orthopedic Sales.  Relaxing and enjoying myself was easier said than done. I wound up driving my son (and wife) crazy asking him questions about his freshman practices every night when he got home or on the car ride home from practice.

I will admit I felt as something was missing from my life.  It was definitely an adjustment not being involved in my son’s coaching as well.  St Gabriel’s head coach and I kept in touch.  He had asked me a few times over the summer to continue coaching but I cordially declined stating I didn’t want to miss any of my son’s freshman football.  He kept an “open door” offer for me to return anytime to the staff.  

Towards the end of August I was continuing to drive my wife and son crazy with questions and advice about his football.  My wife told me I needed to find something to do for my sake and the families.  Around the same time all of this was going on I was in Church one Sunday listening to the Homily.  Our Priest was talking about having a “calling in life” and whatever that calling may be should involve helping others. This hit me right between the eyes.  I remember sitting in Church thinking he (the Priest and God) was talking directly to me.  

I felt that I was being selfish not helping the Coaches on the staff who asked for my help and not utilizing my God given Talents to help others, specifically the young men on the team.  I remember thinking my career is going great but is that really directly helping others?  I knew the answer was no to that question.  Later that same day I went to St Gabriel’s first regular season game with my son and let him know I was thinking about coaching again.  He told me I should especially since his games were on Thursday night and St Gabriel’s were on Sunday afternoon.  I confirmed with my wife that evening that she was still fine with me coaching again.  She said yes.

The next day I called the head coach and asked him if his offer was still open for me to return.  He said yes and I joined the staff the next day.  It was an absolute blast coaching again.  I had no idea how much I missed it.  It was actually much easier not having a son on the team.  I was back doing what I loved to do as well as what I felt God and my family wanted.  My son was relieved that I had something to keep me busy and not critiquing him during the rest of his season.   It was a Win-Win-Win for me, my family and the team.  

The season went great and I realized that football coaching is in my DNA.  Probably one of the most rewarding things that has ever happened to me in my entire life was having players and parents thank me for coming back to the team.  Nothing big, just a simple thank you.  That was confirmation to me that I had made the right decision.  I had never told anyone this story except maybe one friend and my wife until we exchanged emails last week.  I’m just glad I was listening during Church that Sunday.  I can’t wait to get started again in July!

P.s. some of the parents organized a pre-season Jersey Ceremony before I joined the team. I was told it went great.

Have a great evening!!

Steve Bennett

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