“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
First of all, I have been listening to all the nagging to write more. You people must be very bored if you want more of this, but I am going to try and create more conversations over the next few months, as long as you promise to converse back and allow me to learn from you!
I recently celebrated my one year anniversary at NCSA. It has been an amazing journey, and although I fought it for quite some time, I am learning to enjoy my role as a Head National Scout (i.e. mentor, teacher, coach, adviser, counselor, surrogate parent, confidant...). When I started 13 months ago in this venture, I was simply a college recruiter. My role, in my perspective, was to evaluate the academic and athletic prowess of kids across the world who were committed to playing college athletics, and, if they were qualified, build a roadmap for them that would allow them to begin connecting to college coaches. Rewarding in itself, right?
Progressively, my role has changed...significantly. I am now my family's neighbor, their fellow parent, their friend who has a skill set that they are lacking...I'm Uncle Matt (the job I have been doing the longest and am most proud of, and depending on which of my unbelievably talented and wonderful 14 nieces and nephews you ask, the best at.)
Through the past 13 months I have laughed a lot. I have cried with families during their evaluation and on my own after. I have been the kick in the pants they sometimes desperately need and sometimes the lighthouse on a dark and foggy night they thought they would never find. I have been treated as a life-altering savior and a piece of crap salesman...and everything in between...all on the same night. I appreciate all of them. I only wish I had done a better job of proving my care and concern for their child's future. They all need it. It is my job to make sure they accept it.
I have learned to give each of these families my very best and expect the very best of them. For a long time, I believed that whether they chose to admit it or not, they needed me and my company's services more than I needed them. This weekend, that changed for me. I got to spend four days with the people I work with every day. I have only known them by their voice on the phone or through the dozens of emails I receive from them daily. This weekend I realized that these people were my life-line. They are all wonderful...young, insecure, hungry, generous, capable...but all wonderful. They reminded me that "Coach" isn't where I am, but who I am. A coach is just a guy in a corner talking to himself without his students. Pretty great perspective to receive, huh?
As I reflected on this profound concept this morning, I realized how wrong I was about these young people (both my scouts and student-athletes), who I have been pre-defining as desperately in need of me. I need them just as much...if not more. They give me hope, purpose, pride, and self-worth. They give me these gifts every time they call and say "Coach Rogers, it happened. I did it!"
I don't think they truly understand how much their results, success, and joy defines mine. What a truly amazing life to provide something that gives so much back. As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I will humbly give thanks for the life NCSA and these wonderful colleagues and families provide me.
Over the next few months, I will be providing an insight to where my path is headed, and I will be asking for your help to guide me and the direction of that path. I feel rejuvenated today; even though, my body is exhausted. When I was 22, my next step would be to start changing the world. As I quickly near 40, I am going to fly home and love my two kids and wife, and try my darnedest to make one person's self-worth a little stronger and future a little clearer. My colleagues did that for me this weekend, and it is now my turn to pass it on.
More to come...
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Coach Matt Rogers