by Ryan Krzykowski
It was probably 1998, maybe 1999, and I was a very young Coach at a conference or clinic. I don’t remember who the speaker was, maybe Ken Smith (he was always a hoot). Whoever it was referenced a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash”, and the point of the poem was to get us thinking about how we spend the years between the dates of our birth and ultimately, our death. The question was posed, “What are you doing with your dash?” Certainly something worth thinking about, and our staff took it to heart and had quality conversation around the idea. We agreed on a shared desire to accomplish meaningful things in the lives of others, specifically the players we were blessed to coach.
Years went by, as they always do, and other catchy ideas came along each year. Good stuff, pretty much all of it, designed to get us thinking about who we were individually and collectively as a staff, and what we were working toward. But eventually, all those newer good ideas crowded out The Dash, and I kind of forgot all about it. I don’t think I’ve been living as though I forgot about it, but that specific idea hadn’t crossed my mind in quite a while.
It’s no longer 1998 — 25 years have passed, and I’m certainly not the very young Coach I was a quarter century ago. In that time, just in my own life, there’s been a wedding, multiple career adjustments, a cross-country move, and the births of four sons. The third of those sons left last week for year #2 at the University of Central Missouri, and as is often the case, changes like this have got me thinking. I’m thinking about how my role as a parent has evolved — I’m more of a support/guide and certainly no longer much of a caretaker. I’m thinking about how I continue to grow in emotional maturity, and have finally begun to exercise restraint and maintain composure when triggered. And for some reason, as I’m now firmly planted in middle-age, The Dash has reentered my mind. What have I done with my Dash so far? What am I called to do with what remains?
What about you?
Let’s Coach With Purpose…