Editor: I was the starting lacrosse defenseman my freshman year in college.The coach used to take me aside before each game to let me know I was the guy he was counting on to lead the team and bring home the victory.The fact he did this with most of the starting team didn’t bother me.
During the games he would shout “great play Al,” “terrific pass” and when I made a mistake “forget it, you’re playing great.” But he did not forget for in practice he would remind me, show me how I should have made the play, and made me practice it, but he never embarrassed a player in front of the team. I played my heart out for him and never wanted to let him down.
My sophomore year, I moved on to the varsity with a new coach. I also was the starting defenseman.But the new coach called me out constantly, “you’re too slow,” “you passed to the wrong man,” and most cutting of all at a team meeting “you played an awful game.”By mid-season my confidence was shot, my play did deteriorate, and I was benched frustrated and angry.
I recall this experience today as I listen to shouting voices calling for resignations, blaming folks forevents long ago, or stupid and thoughtless comments made yesterday which in no way reflect on the person’s overall views or body of work in service to the community.It reminds me of my varsity coach.
Why can’t we try the way of my freshman coach and encourage dialogue, offer forgiveness for mistakes even while showing how to correct them,and above all stress that the injustices of this world can best be solvedif we are all on the team playing together.
There was a happy ending to my lacrosse career.
When we played RPI away our star attack man forgot his jersey. Since I knew the coach would never put me into the game, I gave him my jersey and number to wear.A week or so after the game I got a letter from a girl I had previously dated (before meeting my future wife).She wrote: “I was at the RPI game and saw you play.You were wonderful!”
Alfred P. Van Huyck, Round Hill