This week I was having a problem catching a cat nap at cheer. I know, 5 teams working hard on learning stunts, tumbles, and routines - how can one sleep?! I was that tired. The problem wasn't the fact that I kept sliding out of the red plastic chair, or the parents screaming, "YOU GO GIRL!!!!" and other words of encouragement that I'm certain the kids don't hear. It wasn't even when a stunt group fell and the whole room sucked in all the air at once anticipating injury (she was spared from injury).
The problem was the coach. We love coach Brad. Since the first time we met him Z has felt a special connection with Coach Brad. We originally went to Cheer Station for the opportunity to train with male coaches. See Z is a boy and he cheers. We hit a phase where he needed to know that it was OK to be a boy cheerleader. Z has definitely gotten that message loud and clear. There are several guy coaches and the number of boys at the gym just keeps increasing. There is a boy in each of the groups that meet during Z's team time. It's a great thing to see. There are several male coaches and they are AWESOME! The girl coaches are equally awesome in their own right, but for my boy the guy coaches are amazing (granted his favorite for training is a girl - Coach Chapa really works him out!). A lot of the coaches there are college students or have cheered in college. Coach Chapa is UT's Assistant Cheer Coach that's how cool Z's coaches are. Z thinks this is awesome because he wants to use cheer to pay for college. That has been his goal since joining cheer at 3yo and he turned 10yo yesterday. Right now he says that he wants to own a cheer gym when he grows up. That is a bit more realistic than being a spy who cheers. Though I loved the creativity of that.
Now i know you are wondering what Coach Brad was up to that kept me from napping this week. It was the pride I saw in his face as he worked with those kids. They were doing some amazing stunts - girls were flying while bases were moving into the next position. I thought tumbling into a stunt was cool, but this took it to a whole 'nother level. The thing that I loved was watch the relationship between Coach Brad and the kids. It was this connection that they would do anything for each other. They were a team and would be there to support each other no matter what. It made my heart feel good to know that my son has a group of peers and adults like that around him.
It got me to thinking about other coaches I spend time with. I have had the joy of spending quite a bit of time in boys PE this school year. Particularly in Coach Parson's class. He has been targeting the team work attitude in PE this year, and it has changed the dynamics of PE. My students are better able to access a class that was once inaccessible and basically at survival level for them. There are just too many social skills involved in sports as well as the motor skills that challenge them. It is so difficult for them. But Coach Parsons worked specifically on social skills through team work. It was an awesome thing to watch through out the year. Never thought one of my students would list a coach as his hero, but he did.
Both of these coaches have a skill in developing the talents of their students and creating a sense of pride for the team. They are people I look up to when I think about how I want to interact with the groups of children I serve in my daily life, my students, my NJHSers, my Girl Scouts. Glad I was so distracted that I didn't miss a moment of this by napping. It totally made my day!