During the final interview, I proudly presented the letter of recommendation from Coach Riley. The athletic director and the committee members were astounded by its contents, expressing their awe and stating, “I’ve never seen a recommendation like this!” Filled with hope, I left the room and patiently waited outside as they deliberated amongst themselves.
After what seemed like an eternity, the athletic director emerged, her eyes welled up with tears. She looked at me and delivered the heartbreaking news. Just moments ago, they had received a notification that an on-campus teacher had accepted the coaching position, leaving no room for me. Despite the outstanding recommendation, fate had dealt me an unexpected blow.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, realizing that even with the endorsement of the world’s best coach, I had fallen short of my aspirations. However, I refused to let this setback define me. Resilience became my guiding principle.
In the face of disappointment, I made a pivotal decision. I resolved to return to school, complete my degree, and explore ways to make a more significant impact on children’s lives through sports. Within a couple of years, armed with a degree in communication, I played a role in establishing a recreational sports department at a university. This experience fueled my entrepreneurial spirit, leading me to launch my first company.
Looking back on that trying period, I recognize it as a profound challenge. I often wonder how easy it would have been to abandon my aspirations and retreat to familiar territory. However, upon reflection, I realized that failing to secure that high school basketball coaching position propelled me to reevaluate my purpose, my actions, and my unwavering commitment to achieving my dreams.
Now, nearly 40 years later, I am still actively pursuing my passion for empowering children through sports, helping them discover life’s incredible lessons and skills, both challenging and rewarding, through participation in youth sports. I am forever grateful to Coach Riley for his invaluable letter of recommendation. When I contemplate the past, I realize that not obtaining that coaching position may have been the best failure of my life.