This excerpt was taken from a blog on Franciscan Mission Service by BASIS DC coach Nate Marsh.
"I was lucky enough to have a tremendous coach when I began playing lacrosse in 2006 at the age of 14. While I wasn’t the slightest bit athletic, or even motivated in any way, he found a way to make me both starting all four years on an NCAA team and graduating magna cum laude.
Was what most amazing about his coaching, however, was his ability to make everything we did in practice correlate to challenges we would face later in life, or just the idea that how we act now reflects the kind of person we will become. If we take the lazy way out or don’t put the effort in now, then we won’t in the future at college or a job or whatever have you.
It is because of this man that I have such an intense love of sports and the lessons they teach. And it is also because of him that once I joined FMS and moved to Washington, DC that I sought to find a team to help coach. I was lucky enough to find WINNERS.
While lacrosse is typically seen as a preppy, suburban sport, WINNERS is trying to rectify that. Many of the inner city school in DC don’t have a lacrosse team, and WINNERS provides that. They also supply equipment for a sport that could easily cost $1,000 each season on equipment alone.
WINNERS also stresses many of the same life lessons that my coach instilled in me. Every week there is a particular trait each coach is preaching to his athletes, like eye contact, respect, teamwork, etc.
However, the lessons are not limited to the kids, but to the coaches too. To me anyway.
Ever since graduating high school in 2010, I have returned to my alma mater whenever I could to help my coach continue the program at the rate he always has. But high schoolers are pretty easy to deal with, all things considered.
I have little to no experience with working with middle school children, and the first practice was certainly a wake up call. But working with kids this young it the best way to make lifelong impressions on them, and doing it in an interactive environment is a very impactful way of doing it. I has taught me more effective ways to explain things, making me a better and more concise speaker, and ultimately a more patient person, all while bettering myself and my community through serving.
What WINNERS has done for me more than anything, though, is show me the root of what the sport is: fun. It has brought me back to my freshman year of high school just learning to hold the stick the right way, and it amazes me how far ahead of me these kids are when I was their age, learning the game at least three years earlier than I had. Their potential is limitless, and I’m proud to contribute even an once to that.
Teaching these kids the importance of hard work, if I can be even a quarter as effective as my high school coach, will pay dividends for them the rest of their lives. Just as I used to be stuck in class all day, begging for the final bell to go out to practice, I watch the clock tick down at work eager to shape the future lacrosse players of tomorrow.
You don’t have to change the world when you volunteer, but give yourself to others out of the kindness of your heart. You should never be too busy to go out of your way for other people, and you become a much better person through it."