I have had the privilege of coaching Goalkeepers for over 4 decades. During that time, I have seen the game change (mostly for the better), and I have watched my original "GK students" grow up, raise families, and I've even had the wonderful fortune of coaching the kids of some of my early GKs! (Yes. That makes me Jurassic!)
Marsha and I have a group of young GKs that we have always referred to as 'our 3rd Sons'. These are GKs that I have trained consistently over many years. These 3rd Sons were ever-present in our home, training on weekends, training at holidays, training over the Summer, in short....always around! It was (and is) a wonderful experience!
Last week, in the midst of our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, I experienced something that I feel is remarkable, and something that I'm very proud of. One of our 3rd Sons, Greg Raber, is now the VP of Atrium Health Supply Chain Alliance and GPO Operations. Greg oversees the needs of 52 hospitals in the Southeast. As you can imagine, Greg is 'under the gun' right now. He is one of those guys who have been working 20 hours a day continually trying to find supplies for his hospitals. Another of our 3rd Sons, Taylor Barada, is an entrepreneur, tech advisor, investor, and highly successful business man.
About a week ago, Greg was frantically in need of surgical masks for his hospital workers. As you know, there is a worldwide shortage of masks due to the onslaught of the pandemic. In a Zoom meeting of the 3rd Sons about 10 days ago, I had mentioned that Greg was unable to join us due to the demands of his job situation. I mentioned that he was searching for masks for his hospitals. Taylor suggested that he just might have a source through some business contacts that he has globally, and long story short.....Taylor connected Greg with a factory that could produce--relatively quickly--the thousands of masks that Greg needed.
Now, these 2 were just little GK kids when I first started working with them. Literally. Greg was 11 years old, and Taylor, maybe 12. They were just kids who loved playing Goal. They were kids....just like you! They loved the challenge, the grind, and the rewards of being a GK. Both went on to play in college and professionally. (The photos are of both, Greg--#32, and Taylor--National Championship Team at U Virginia).
None of us knew, during those training years that one day, these 2 would work together to help in some small way, the fight against this epidemic. And I am not claiming that Taylor and Greg are saving the world. Just a small step in a small corner of the world. But, as with GK training and development......every little bit helps, and those 2 are helping in a fight that is infinitely more important than keeping a ball out of a goal. I like to think that these 2 learned the appreciation and necessity of work-ethic and 'grind' --in some small way-- through their respective GK careers. Being a GK can be both glorious and humbling, but most importantly, being a GK can teach you about and prepare you for living life.
Alonzo Stagg, the famous football coach, was once asked by a reporter after winning a national championship game, "What do you think of your team?" Stagg answered, "I'll let you know in 20 years." He knew that coaching was so much more than wins on the scoreboard.
These 2 GKs learned from the game that life requires effort, commitment, dedication, and "taking care of your team before taking care of yourself." Needless to say, I'm proud of being a very small part of these young men's lives. Just the way, I'm sure that your coach is proud to be associated with you, and sees the full potential of what you can be!
You Just Never Know....
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the other team shoot everything right at you. May you remember to take care of your team before you take care of yourself.
All the Best--EV
Please be safe! Follow the advice of medial professionals. Keep your distance, wash your hands, don't touch your face, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm, stay home if you are sick.