Home | Classifieds | Place an ad | Obituaries | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Real Estate Search | 928 Media Lab | Contact Us | Subscribe | Yellow Pages
Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : opinions : commentary August 28, 2014


1/22/2014 9:46:00 AM
Commentary
Teacher motivates young athlete
By Daris Howard


I stopped after class to talk with my teacher, Coach Sam. I was going to the state wrestling tournament and would be missing a big quiz in my U.S. History class. I asked him if I could make it up when I returned, or if he wanted me to take it before I left.

"I'll tell you what," he said. "If you win, I'll let you make it up when you get back."

I was a junior and had worked really hard in wrestling. I had won the district championship, but was looking at some tough competition at state. I knew there were some seniors in my weight from other schools that had big reputations.

"What if I lose?" I asked.

"Just don't plan on losing," he replied, "and you won't have to cross that bridge."

I went to state and fought some of the toughest matches of my life. I progressed quite well, but was injured in my third match. And even though I continued to wrestle, the pain in my knee reduced my ability to compete effectively. But I must admit that, in many ways, I beat myself as I worried unnecessarily about the other wrestlers' reputations and experience. I did not come home with the state title.

When I came back to class on Monday and asked Coach Sam about taking the quiz, he said, "I understand you didn't win state." I verified that was true. "Well, then," he continued, "I'm afraid it is going to have to count as a missed quiz and a zero. But since I drop the lowest one for the semester, it shouldn't hurt you."

"But I studied hard for it, and I know I can do well," I complained. "Besides, I was gone for a school excused activity."

"Howard," he said, "what do you think a teacher's job is?"

"To teach," I replied.

"That is only part of it. A teacher is to encourage, to motivate, and to help a student reach their full potential and believe in themselves. I believe you had the ability to win state, but apparently I believed in you more than you did. To me, your excused absence is only valid if you made full use of your time and ability, and I don't believe you did that."

No amount of disagreement on my part could dissuade him from his decision. He was determined that I could have won.

The next year I again won district, and as if history was repeating itself, I had a big U.S. Government quiz on the weekend of the state tournament. I again approached Coach Sam about taking it when I got back.

"If you don't win, well, you know the answer, don't you?" he replied.

I had trained hard through the year, and though I was more experienced and was considered by many to be one of the best wrestlers in the state, I had also struggled with a tough case of pneumonia that had weakened my lungs. I had my doubts, but Coach Sam expressed his belief in me.

I went to state, and the farther I moved through the tournament, the more tired my lungs became, and, in turn, the less energy I had. Going into the championship match, I thought of my desire for the state title and the desire to live up to Coach Sam's belief in me. I somehow found energy I didn't even know I had. I won, though I nearly passed out afterward from the exertion.

I was too sick to return to school the next Monday, but when I walked into U.S. Government the first hour on Tuesday morning, Coach Sam had the class give me a standing ovation.

"Does that mean I get an automatic 100% on the missed quiz since I got an automatic 0 last year?" I asked.

"No," Coach Sam said, "but you do get to take it."

I did well on the quiz, but more importantly, because of good teachers, I feel I have done well in life. Thanks, Coach Sam, for believing in me.

Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at daris@darishoward.com; or visit his website at www.darishoward.com


    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Code on dogs, limit on animals raises hackles (7 comments)
600 Bradshaw students dedicate ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to former student Gabe Reyes *with video* (2 comments)
Man calls to report assault, arrested on drug charges (1 comment)
Little League 9-10 Softball All Stars (1 comment)
Candidates are preparing the voters (5 comments)




Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Prescott Valley, AZ
Click for weather forecast


Find It Features Blogs Milestones Extras Submit Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place an ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Real Estate Search | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2014 Prescott Newspapers, Inc. The Prescott Valley Tribune is the information source for Prescott Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Prescott Newspapers Online is a service of Prescott Newspapers, Inc. By using the Site, pvtrib.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Prescott Newspapers Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved