Thank you for supporting the athletic program at BES. During the 2016-2017 school year, we had 70% of the eligible student body participate. That’s 58 student athletes! We hope to reach many more students this year.
I can go on and on about the benefits of sports and physical activity. I can talk of the advantages athletic activities provide in and out of the classroom and the lifetime lessons and positive attributes that can be developed when one is part of a team.
As I am writing this article, I can’t help but reflect on how athletics became such an integral part of my life. My parents never pushed me into athletics but if I wanted to participate, they made it available. I started playing soccer when I was nine. I only started because my older sister’s friend was on a soccer team, and they needed more players. My two older sisters started playing soccer that year, but I was too young to play. It seemed like a lot of fun. The next year, my mom found a team for me, and that is where my athletic career began.
It started there because someone asked, because there was an opportunity, and because it was fun. The beginning of athletics was also the end of my dancing career, which was not going very far anyway. The coach my sisters had their first year became our coach throughout high school. The coaches I had, even when I was nine, became a positive influence on my life. I cannot thank them enough for what they brought to my life. Their positive encouragement and motivation changed who I would become.
In middle school, my PE coach, Coach Parker, needed more volleyball players, so she asked me. And, of course, I was willing. That started my volleyball career through high school. Playing was so much fun and created so many good memories. I also tried the track team that year. I ran the 200 meters, hurdles, high jump, and anything else my coach asked of me. While those sports were not my favorite, I learned to accept new challenges.
My mom didn’t know what to think of me. In high school, the girls cross country coach always tried to recruit me. I thought running two miles at the time was crazy. Crazy! I have recently completed my 20th marathon in the last 12 years. Yep, crazy! Those early coaches made an indelible mark in my life and helped open new doors, all the while molding me into the athlete, mom, wife, and teacher I would become.
As I reflect, I can now say that God put these opportunities and challenges in my path so that I would offer new doors for the next generation of athlete. For the countless nine or ten-year olds at Beaches Episcopal School who cross my path, I can now ask them to be a part of our Rays Athletic team – giving them the opportunities to stretch themselves, to prioritize physical activity, to welcome challenges, and be a mentor for others who are younger than they are. Our coaches and teachers do this every day. My prayer is that new doors will be opened for your child this year, and that they will learn new life lessons outside the classroom. Thank you for letting me be a part of their lives and hopefully make a positive impact that they will look back on as they see their personal, athletic, and academic growth over time.
Stop and reflect on who or what helped get you to where you are today. God places people into our lives at different times for a reason. Take this moment to consider why you are here at this point in life and whom you can open that door for. How can you make an impact on a child in your sphere of influence?
I am thankful for athletics through out my childhood and today. I am thankful my own children have opportunities to excel in physical ways. It is important to be active, and it is important to make it fun. My mom had three girls and did not plan on sitting in the bleachers through our younger years, cheering us on, and cleaning up our bruised legs. She loved the learning experience. Today, she continues to sit in the bleachers and cheer on her grandchildren, mostly girls. What a privilege to see how we can pass on our love of athletics to the next generation of children and, in the process, create a lasting legacy of athletics in our families.
Every day I am thankful for the people who are a part of my life and the blessings I have. I hope that I can still be active and a positive role model for my children, nieces, and students around me for years to come. My teachers, coaches, and friends have opened opportunities for me, and I hope that I pay it forward every day!
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
– Hebrews 12:11-13
Mrs. Tricia Novak
Beaches Episcopal School