Friday, April 13, 2007

The Phone Call

Yesterday, I got a phone call. It went something like this:

Me: "Hello."
BJ:"May I speak to Coach Bowens?"
Me:"This is she."
BJ:"Do you know who this is?"
Me:"It sounds like BJ."
BJ: (giggling)"Yeah, it's me. I just called to let you know that I signed with Southern Miss and I really want to thank you for everything that you did."
Me:"Southern Miss, huh. Did you know that was my alma mater?"
BJ:"That's what they told me."
Me:"I'm really proud of you BJ. If anyone deserves this, you do and I will be coming to watch you."
BJ:"Yeah, cause you are an alumni."
Me:"That's right. Seriously, I wish you nothing but the best and everything your heart desires."
BJ:"Thanks coach. You will really never know how much you helped me on and off the court. Tell Je, I said Hi and I'm sending him a t-shirt."
Me:"I will. He is really going to miss you."
BJ:"Me, too. I'm gonna miss all of you."
Me:"Bye and good luck."
BJ:"Nope, coach. See ya later and good luck."
Me:"That's right."

Before this conversation, I don't think that I really understood the impact that coaching has had on my life. BJ is a great kid and no one that I have taught or coached deserves this more. And while BJ was thanking me, I was thanking her. For renewing my spirit and fight. For brightening my day. For giving me hope. You see, that phone call taught me that even when you think that your actions are small. They are not. Even when you wanna quit, you are holding someone up. Even when things look bleak, someone is smiling because you are in their life.

Each day I teach and I wonder if I have reached anyone. I always stress how my children watch my actions. The thing that I rarely think about is the effect that I have on my players lives. Of course, there is a special bond there, but rarely do I think about how the little things that I do for them because I'm their coach, translate into bigger things to them.

May God's blessings carry BJ as far as her mind, spirit and talent can take her. Thanks BJ. You meant more to me than you will ever know.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pride - A movie review

Pride is the story of a group of boys who form a swim team under the watchfulness of the man who has been assigned to clear out the community center in their neighborhood which is scheduled to be shut down. But the movie is about so much more than this.

This movie is about determination, dignity, and respect. While watching the movie, I thought of my students and I realized that all they need is someone to believe in them. They have to be trained in how to deal with adversity just as these young men were. In a sense, the students that we serve are just like the boys in this movie.

Now I'm not a movie critic, but this movie inspired me. If you have an extra six bucks-check it out.

Staying or Going?

Many of my classmates are contemplating now whether to stay or to go. The two year commitment is complete and the degree is within reach. Many feel that they have done their part in helping the underprivileged. But have you? We've all created these great legacies. We have founded organizations, changed rules, written laws, led protests and inspired minds. Still can you say that in two years, you have made such an impact that these things will go on without you? Have you trained someone to take over in your absence or is it no longer your problem? Is there more that you can do?

Being that I have a vested interest in this state, my opinion could be considered biased, but I believe that if you search your hearts and minds then you will find that the answer to the above questions is NO! Take the time to consider this and do some soul searching. If you are leaving that is your choice, but don't allow the work that you've done leave with you.