In October, I spoke during a morning character education class about gratitude and why I’m grateful to coach (catch up on the story in my post about this website).
At the end of class, I asked the players to write a thank-you note to someone who has influenced their lives, and include what the opportunity to play football has meant to them.
Early this week, I picked these notes up and am again moved by their contents.
This week’s character class was about expressing gratitude. 71 players wrote about what it means to them & football but there was NOT ONE single mention of touchdowns, tackles or blocks. Don’t tell me being on a football team isn’t important. #family pic.twitter.com/WLGmnNJJXF
We absolutely must stay focused on the critical developmental role we have in our players’ lives — as coaches, and as a community. Here are just a few of the most powerful player sentiments:
“I’m the first one in my family to play football. I will remember all the coaches. Each has impacted me in some way – I don’t think I can ever pay them back, other than becoming the football player and the man they hope I will be.”
“Without football, I feel like I would be with the wrong people, going down the wrong road in life. This team is my life.”
“What I love about the game is that I can escape from everything. I go through a lot, and the few hours I have of football makes me forget everything else.”
“Football is a release. It give me a chance to leave all my problems behind, and to just go have fun. This team has given me more than I imagined I would ever receive. It has given me a family I can trust, and that means so much to me.”
“Playing football this year has given me an experience I didn’t have before in my life. I’ve never felt so close to a group of people in my life – where we grew together to better ourselves.”
Feel free to use the idea to get to know your players better, or by making cards available to help players spread the love by giving cards to teachers, parents, supporters, program sponsors, other coaches.
In my experience, sharing our gratitude can be our most powerful opportunity to connect.
(On that note …. Email me if you need help with a thank-you note template. Pro tip: print on heavy cardstock and cut with a paper cutter. No need to buy retail cards, and you can do something great for your community while continuing to build programs that support life skills and a closer family culture.)