I want to issue a challenge, or call to arms, to the coaching community in the wake of some recent tragic events.
As coaches, we’re charged with using sports as a vehicle to teach life lessons, and we’re blessed with the opportunity to see people grow as individuals, as well as students and athletes. We get the unique opportunity to see kids at their highest of highs, and oftentimes at their lowest of lows. We like to think that we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on inside the mind of teenage and college-aged kids, but sadly, that’s not always the case, and of course our job as coaches isn’t done when the season ends and kids turn in their equipment.
Everyone has their own struggles that are unique and personal to them, and this week’s news of the apparent suicide of of Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinksi shined a light on that, and the news struck a nerve with a number of coaches, media personalities, and famous athletes. Tyler’s case isn’t an isolated one. Chances are you, or your coaching buddies, have been affected by something similar.
Here’s the simple, yet powerful, thing that I’m asking everyone reading this to do. If you’ve been called to the coaching profession, take a few minutes out of each day to reach out to a current or former player. Ask them how they’re doing. Ask them about life. Ask them about their plans for the future. If you get the sense that they’re struggling, share with them a personal story from a time when you were struggling as well. Let them know they’re not alone. Let them know that there are people out there that love and care deeply about them, and that you’re just one of those people.
The simple act of reaching out may save a life, so I’m asking you to make a conscious decision to dig through your contacts for a former player and #BeTheChange that they may need in their life right now.
(To be clear, I’m not asking anyone to use the #BeTheChange hashtag to publicly share any of these private conversations you’ll have, I simply want to use #BeTheChange to help provide a consistent, unified, message across all sports for coaches)
If you’re a student-athlete, or former student-athlete, and at a point where you’re struggling personally and happen to be reading this, use the hashtag #HeyCoach to reach out to a former coach that has impacted your life in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be publicly on any social media platform, it could be in a text, DM, or email, but using that hashtag will be familiar to a lot of coaches who are reading this, and they’ll recognize it as reaching out for a little help.
FootballScoop is a powerful platform that often extends beyond the reach of just football, and we always feel it important to use that platform to continue to influence good in the profession. This idea is one way that we can reach a large amount of coaches, who can in turn reach out to a kid each day, and that quickly turns from a few people who have their lives touched by a coach, to hundreds, and hopefully thousands. In turn, it’s very likely that somewhere in that journey that a simple text, DM, or tweet, Instagram post, or Snapchat message from a coach to a former player of theirs ends up saving a life.
If this challenge can save the life of just one player – whether they’re battling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or just heading down the wrong path in life – it’s absolutely worth it.
The ball is now in your hand coaches.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”