2017-05-18 / Youth

The game of life

Education notes
Steve Reaves

Having been a coach all of my adult life, and with the Port Aransas ISD for the past 17 years. I can honestly say that I still love my job as much today as I did when I started. I absolutely love teaching and coaching teenagers, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

As we are approaching the end of another year in athletics we will have a chance to look back and celebrate our successes, and we have had a lot of them. We had a state runner-up in cross country this year. Both boys and girls cross country teams advanced to the state meet for the second year in a row. Both boys and girls teams advanced to the regional tournament in basketball again. The softball team was back in the playoffs for the 7th year in a row. Track, Tennis and Golf were all represented at the regional meet and track will be represented at state once again. But the coaching staff understands that the most important thing that we do is not reflected in these stats, but in the kids that graduate and leave our programs.

PAISD has been committed to hiring and keeping a coaching staff that not only believes this, but practices it. Each of our coaches spends their days in the classroom, their afternoons in practice, and during their sport, a few nights a week on a bus traveling distances up to three hours each way to transport our kids to compete. Our coaches have families of their own, and many a coach’s child has been deemed a “bleacher creature” for the time they spend in the stands watching their parents’ work. But that’s the thing: for our coaches, this isn’t just a job. They love what they do. They love working with a student over and over again to perfect a left-handed layup, or achieve a personal record on the track; and they love sharing the excitement with the student that finally “gets it” in the classroom.

We see our job as a calling; some might even say a minis- try. We know this is what we were born to do. We pour our lives into the lives of our kids hoping to show them there is a path that isn’t always easy, but is always right. We are not perfect, far from it in fact, and our kids know it. But my hope is that these kids, your kids, see the consistency and forward motion to always improve, always work hard and always respect themselves and their teammates. We teach our athletes to pick themselves up when they fall, to continue when it’s hard, to win gracefully and if they lose, lose with integrity, but never to get out-worked.

We teach them little by little in each practice, each game and overtime. They grow into young men and women with sound values, values they have learned in class, in athletics and through their relationships. Their eventual growth and ability to make better decisions is not unlike what we hope to see in the stock market arrow: it ebbs and flows a little bit but the long-term trend is rising. And this is why we do our job, what I consider the greatest job on earth

The old adage that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game is the core of who I am. Don’t misunderstand me; I LOVE to win, but I also understand that when you do things the right way, winning takes care of itself. We get the privilege of taking 12 and 13 year olds and helping them grow into young men and women by the time they leave our programs, and we are lucky enough to get to use sports to accomplish this. The real challenge is not x’s and o’s, but the game of life. The mission of all of us coaches at PAISD is to help our athletes win that one.

Steve Reaves is the athletic director at Port Aransas High School.

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