I could tell you the story of how our Cathedral Volleyball team won their 2nd consecutive CIF Southern Section Division IV championship but the more important story is how our team banded together to be the true definetion of a Phantom brother to one of their teammates, as his mom was fighting a bigger battle than the ones we were fighting on the volleyball court….cancer.
In a society where “winning” is judged on wins and losses, it has dawned on me more and more that “winning” is not based on your overall record, or even chamionships. It is judged on character. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are”. The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is one of four coaches I truly admire and take to heart what their coaching philosophy is all about. It is not about the reputation….character is what counts.
Yes, my team may have the reputation now of being CIF Champions again but what does that mean in life? Nothing. The mere fact my team is walking away with the character of brotherhood; which will take them so much further in life. That is the ultimate success in sports. It is OUR ultimate success in life.
Just imagine-it is your senior year; your last year to make lasting memories before you are off to the real world. But then you get the news that your mom has breast cancer. Now, all the events you were looking forward to during your senior year of high school are no longer important…Grad nite, Prom, and Volleyball. Moreover, how is an 18-year old kid supposed to deal with this heart-breaking news?
If adults have a hard time dealing with this, what makes us think an 18-year old can? He can’t. Or so he thought he couldn’t.
Little did he know that his struggles were our team’s struggles. His pain was our pain. His tears were our tears. His cries were our cries. His mom was our mom. Our volleyball team was not only his volleyball team but his family, brothers, and friends. He dedicated his season to his mom…for the battle she fought every day to fight off cancer. And she won.
Seeing him smile and talk about how his team was there for him, supporting both of them, brought her therapy that no medicine could provide to anyone. He drew much strength from her as she did from him. There were days it seemed cancer was winning the battle as he would watch helplessly as his mom went through grueling chemo-treatments and its after-effects. But his teammates never let him be down. He drew strength from them when there was nowhere else to draw strength from. He never gave up.
Yes, I am proud of the accomplishments my team has made on the court but I am proud my team is walking away with a stronger sense of character. It not about the CIF ring. It is not about the CIF banner on the gym wall. It is about “a team becoming your family”….a true family where we are there for each other.
My team may not have received a rally for winning CIF, or an assembly, or a banner unveiling, or even a special on our school TV network, but they received a lesson in life….the battles on the volleyball court are nothing compared to the battles we fight every day in life.
People think I coach this team when in fact, they coach me, in life. This is not only “our story” but “your story” as well. There are many other teams out there with similar life stories, but unfortunately they don’t have a privilege to share it because they haven’t been “successful”. Well, they are successful. I see many coaches and teams out there with similar character examples of their student-athletes. And although their stories may go unheard, I hope they know God is watching and is with them every stop of their journey.
#CathedralVollyball #ForSocorro #FSU #Family #Character #CIFChampions #ChampionsInLife