|Sometimes We Have Opportunities And Don't Take Advantadge Of Them|
This posting is a reprint of one I had written earlier this summer, occassionally I bring back some of the things I have written after I think about them and as I go through living daily life, I sometimes get a different perspective. I sometimes like to reinforce things I have previously said or add to my thoughts.
In this case it is all of the above. Resigning from the Wrestling position at Pasco High has given me some time to really think about what I have accomplished over these 37 years of teaching anc coaching. Wondering at times if I have done everything I could for all of the students and student athletes that I have coached. I really think I did do what I was put on this earth to do and I continue to attempt to provide opportunities for excellence during my teaching as I am not now coaching.
I am going to bring this article up again and encourage you to go to my blog with any questions, comments or ideas that you might have. My blog is called "grappling for excellence", If you can imagine that.
QUOTE OF THE DAY-January 20th, 2008
"Sometimes All We Have Are Opportunities"
Most of my life has been dedicated to overcoming obstacles and nothing has really changed. I can recall vividly the death of my mother from leukemia when I was eleven years old and standing there on the hillside of Western Pennsylvania with my Father and two brothers thinking about what would come next. It is probably a good thing I didn't know because I most likely would not have made it.
Hearing the words from my sophomore English Teacher that I would never amount to anything didn't do much at the time for me. That was a couple of years after my Mother's passing.
During those years while trying to help raise my two brothers and dealing with my father who had resorted to alcohol to deal with his pain didn't encourage me much either.
One of the reasons that I continue to Coach and Teach is that it gives me the opportunity to hang in there with kids. It gives me the opportunity to challenge them to make the effort to have them figure out what is important in life and to look at the "Big Picture."
While I did finally graduate from High School I was so disappointed in what people thought about my chances in life that I decided to take a big challenge. I enlisted at 17 in the United States Marines during the Viet Nam Conflict. Again I heard those familiar words about how I wouldn't make it.
My father would not give his permission for my final paperwork so I had to wait for my 18th birthday to do it on my own. While working and waiting for that opportunity I was involved in a near fatal car accident which threw me through the windshield of my vehicle and was the reason for a nine day hospital stay and 142 stitches to put a big portion of my forehead back together. I was in trouble with my opportunity to go into the Marine Corps and had to fly back to Cleveland, Ohio to be re-examined. After two months, to my surprise they passed me and put me on an airplane for bootcamp that day. The Marine Corps was another challenge that I would not give up for anything. I think it was probably one of the biggest factors in my later success in college and my ability to get through some very tough factors in my life. It was an opportunity to make something of myself, to prove these people who had no faith in me wrong and to learn some basic survival in life type skills.
At the age of 20 I was a Sergeant E-5 in the United States Marine Corps and was doing very well. I had already gone through two schools and had meritorious promotions from both. It gave me some hope that I could continue doing well in life no matter what anyone said. This is one of the things that I have tried over the past 36 years of Teaching and Coaching to do with the athletes that have gone through programs that I have coached. I have encouraged them to persist, to take advantage of opportunities, to leave everything on the field of play or on the mat.
I could write a book on this but for today I will try to sum this up by saying that my problems were not over by a long shot at this junction in my life. I did get accepted to Eastern Washington State College where I attempted my hand at College Athletics, and when not doing that studied ,attempted to be a good husband to my wife who had lupus , and drove truck 6 days a week.
I did have the opportunity however to try and do this academic thing, and to be honest I was disappointed many times during the first two quarters. I had however earned my right to some veterans benefits and paid for the rest of it by feeding horses in the morning before school and then driving truck well into the night and on the weekends. I did get a chance to study in the truck in between freight pick ups and at night after I got home from work and on Sundays after I did the farm work for the man who was providing the room and board for my wife and I. Why do I go into all of this. I had opportunities, very small ones sometimes but I took them. That is what I have been hoping for the kids I teach and coach. That they would recognize the opportunities they have, not make excuses, do the very best they can with whatever they have. Even if it is very little.
I did graduate from Eastern with High Honors and two majors and two minors and finished in three years as I went to all four quarters each year. It was another opportunity as I had the G.I. Bill and I had a job so I continued to study.
Thirty Seven years later, after some additional tragedies, my house burning down and being sixty thousand dollars under insured. Having a wife leave and raising two children on my own I have managed to coach over a hundred sports seasons , help in the education of thousands of students, and to do what I believe I was destined to do on this earth.
I am the proud grandfather of a grand daughter and grandson, My adult children have both turned into fine people, graduated from college, my daughter served in the USAF and I also pushed them to take advantage of opportunities. I didn't have anything else to give them except opportunities and my love. They have done very well with those two things. My son has been blazing his own trail of success at a local Junior College and my hope was that he would stand on my shoulders and begin where I leave off.
I would like to thank those people who spurred me on with their lack of faith in my abilities, to those people who didn't give me a chance, and said I wouldn't amount to anything. I don't know if I would have bucked up to the challenge. My desire is to continue to provide opportunites for kids because I do love them and that is why I teach and coach.
To those of you that know me are aware of the fact that what I have reported here is just a small glimpse of my life.
Recently I have been alarmed;however, by the lack of committment I have been seeing. I am disappointed by the lack of true PASSION to do the very best that can be done. The WALK THROUGH THE WALLS ATTITUDE TO GET AHEAD and I do mean that in a positive way. I have been seeing more and more people... adults and students with excuses about not taking advantage of opportunities. I have seen them expect more and be willing to give less. One thing that I learned through all of these hits on the head that I took growing up and living life is that if you don't get it done for yourself, it is very likely that it is not going to happen for you.
I continue to be amazed by students, athletes, and people in general who do overcome huge odds and I take my hat off to them. I live to see them succeed! It makes me smile and my heart proud when I see them take a little and make a lot out of it. I love it when they show care and concern for not only themselves but others. I believe in encouragment, motivation and leadership and I hope that I have been a part of the vision and achievements of the many students that I have worked with.
The letters that come to me frequently with sincere thanks from former students and athletes brighten my life and assure me that at least in my small way I have given them the vision to pursue excellence and take advantadge of opportunities.
I have been a fortunate man in having had the opportunity to work with all of the students, athletes, parents, teachers,coaches and community.
"Sometimes All We Have Are Opportunities"
"tough is not enough"
"good enough is not good enough"
"There are no office hours for champions"
"grappling for excellence"
August 5th, 2007
Posted by: Robert Bodnar, Jun 27, 12:39