I’m writing in response to the termination of Neil Romney, coach for North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.
As a competitive long-distance runner, I changed coaches several times during high school and college. My college coach, whom many of us adored, was also terminated. My message to kids and parents, is that while coaches become our mentors, our friends, etc. sometimes we have to let them go. Every one of my coaches taught me valuable lessons about my sport and about myself.
My coaches were all different in their methods, personalities, approaches and philosophies; however, from them I learned to be a stronger, more complete athlete. Had I stayed with one coach my whole athletic career, I would have seriously missed out on some incredible lessons and opportunities to learn and grow as a person and an athlete.
While I sympathize with these swimmers, I encourage them to give their next coach a chance to teach them something new and help them become better athletes. While you’ll miss your old coach, please understand that sometimes things happen off the field (out of the pool) which you have no control over and situations occur which we cannot understand. Instead of focusing on the negativity of the situation and the drama which occurs when a coach is terminated, please look forward to the opportunities a new coach can bring and give them a chance.
This situation is not the fault of your new coach, who will have a difficult time adjusting to a new team as it is without negative attitudes, back-stabbing and unwillingness to participate making things more difficult. Take with you the lessons you’ve learned from Mr. Romney and let him move on to the next phase of his life. Concentrate on working hard at your sport. Athletes lose coaches every day, you’re not the first. Don’t let this setback ruin a sport you love. Show up to practice, like you would if he were there, have a good work ethic and don’t fall to the temptation to gossip and dwell on the negative.
True athletes are a positive example to others, on the field, in the pool, on the court and in life. Do yourself and your sport proud and learn from whatever surprises life throws your way, good and bad. Truly, these things happen and you’ll be stronger for it. Your next coach will need your help as much as you’ll need theirs.