On a Monday afternoon at Mastery Charter Shoemaker, the boy’s lacrosse team met to discuss goals, grit, and gratitude. The meeting consisted of a worksheet that provided a series of questions on the three G’s. One of the questions that was asked, was, “How can I as a coach, help you be successful this year, and later on in life.” I gave them about 5 minutes to come up with their answers.

The room was quiet, as they all thought about what I as their coach could do, to help them be successful.

After I gave them enough time to answer, I called on a senior student named Malik. Malik is a very talented basketball player that has just started playing Lacrosse this year, attracted to the team for their culture of hard work. I repeated the question to him, “What can I do to help you be successful?”

His reply was simple: Just be there.

Just be there. Just show that you care, and that you want to help us.

We’ve had several meetings like this throughout the year, but this one especially mad an impact. On the drive home, I thought about how I can “just be there”.  Just being there is more than just coaching lacrosse, and wins and losses. It’s about the daily interactions, how they’re doing in school, how their families are, if they’re going through anything. I will tell them that I will be there for them, and that they can talk to me about anything, no matter what.

Just being there means when I’m walking in the hallways, stopping and having a conversation with them. Throwing a pass with them. Playing basketball with them.

So far at Mastery Shoemaker, it’s not just about Lacrosse. It’s not just about wins and losses. It’s more than that. It’s about being there for these boys as they grow into men, and I am ready to continue to be there for them after lacrosse.