“I’m Allergic.”

Had the funniest 15 second conversation with an 8th grade boy this past weekend.

I was at a basketball event here in Syracuse and saw a kid I’ve seen at the Y and at these events.  He’s got some skills but I have been noticing he barely plays a lick of defense.  Sure, it’s pick-up basketball, but dang, have some pride.  Challenge your opponent.

So, in my “holy discontent,” after he played one of his pick-up games, I said hi then said, “I would just LOVE to see you play some lock-down defense.”

His response?  “I’m allergic.”

I simply laughed hysterically for five seconds and then we parted ways.  Since that conversation, in the midst of my laughter, it made me think about coaching in a nutshell.

Coach Tom Landry said, “A coach is someone who gets you to do what you don’t want to do so that you can be who you want to be.”

Often the kids we work with have similar responses in one way or another like this young man’s witty response when we challenge them.  As coaches, it’s a continuous journey of trying to inspire our players to do what they don’t necessarily want to do to grow as young men and women through sport.

We may more than we want to admit get this kind of “I’m Allergic” response, but let’s remember that our job is to challenge, inspire, and to love and then we step back and see how our young men and women respond.  It’s an incredible privilege and certainly entertaining!

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