This past few months I got the opportunity to coach the Girls' Water Polo team at Terra Nova HS. I took the position knowing that I would be basically exhausted every day and would have to come to grips with certain fears/feelings I associate with high school. At least it wasn't my own old high school... then I think I would've had even worse anxiety about it.
Now when I was in high school... Whenever I heard about Terra Nova, they were a force to be reckoned with. So of course, my first thoughts were, "Oh crap... I've never coached water polo before and I bet they have a crazy good record." But apparently, that was only the football team because my coworker (who informed me of the position and whose kids go there) gave me some history about the program. When I officially got hired, I looked more into their history to see if what my coworker said was accurate (as she can be pretty dramatic). And.... She was right. Their record was pretty abysmal and they hadn't had a JV team since 2009. They had 16 girls last year but this year my turnout was 24. Definitely enough for two teams... and most of them were pretty young.
So, my nerves were calmed and I started my first speech. They were super receptive! I told them how I played in high school and played for a second in college. They could not stop jabbering about how excited they were about having a coach who actually played. It made me wonder who had been coaching them for the past few years. I told them my huge thing was making sure that people stay positive and that even though we have JV and Varsity, that we are one big team and we support each other. I emphasized this because I remembered how much I loved the camaraderie I had in my high school team... and how much it helped me through feeling pretty excluded from people who I thought I had more in common with (the Asian girls).
My Varsity girls ended up in 5th place but with twice more wins than last year and my JV girls ended up in 2nd place! I could not have been prouder of the girls... but what they don't know is how much they helped me during those short three months. I haven't felt that fulfilled in so long. They filled a void that I've been feeling for so long.
I hope that I can come back next year and do it again.