A Proper Sendoff

by Ryan Krzykowski

Last Friday was rough.  Erica and I became parents to Robbie over eighteen years ago, and he has been with us ever since.  Now he’s leaving us, heading off to Manhattan to begin his studies at Kansas State University.  On one hand it feels like he’s been with us forever, and on the other it feels like not that long ago when I dropped him off for his first day of Kindergarten.  For the record, that was a rough day as well.

But of course, saying goodbye to Robbie has me thinking.

I’m thinking of how proud I am of him.  Of how much more I would still like to teach him before he heads out into “the world”.  Of how much we will miss him, and although he’ll still come around during breaks, summers, etc., how life will kind of never be the same.  How our family of six will shrink, and then keep shrinking over the next 8-10 years.  It’s all kind of an emotional blur right now, with a wealth of mixed emotions.

I’ve also been thinking about how this applies to coaching.  When we have a group of athletes, especially if you’ve coached them for a number of years, it’s a tough thing to see them go.  (Or at least, hopefully most of them.  There is sometimes that one…).  We invest so much in these kids, in a sports context and also in a human context.  They become a part of us.  Passing them on to their next coach or sending them into their adult life can be a challenge.

Two thoughts on that idea: 1. how much better is it when we have confidence that “our kids” will be coached and loved well at the next level?  It’s a huge comfort.  That’s one reason why CFC is working to train coaches well and also to build bridges between coaches at various levels.

And 2.  when we send our kids off, let’s take advantage of opportunities to make sure they know how much they matter to us.  Send them a note in the mail.  Yes, the actual mail.  You can do it, I promise.  Or when you get a chance, go watch them play.  When I see the kids I coached in middle school at their high school games, you wouldn’t believe the way they light up.  You can tell that for many of them it’s a big deal that I bothered to show up.

Saying goodbye is hard, life change can be hard.  Let’s walk through it together.  It’s just far better that way.