From The Mind Of OPJ…


I received an email the other day from a young woman, probably around twenty-seven years of age. The gist of it was that she is going to be inducted into her high school’s athletic hall of fame at the end of the month, and would I (as one of her coaches from back in the day) like to join her table for the dinner at the event?


Talk about being hit by a ton of emotion from just a few lines on a screen. Memories of practices and games from a decade ago, thinking about the example she set which has influenced future players who know of her only by reputation, even of the poem I wrote which summed up her soccer career in 2003.

And that set me thinking back to a couple of years ago when I had returned to visit the boarding schools of my youth and sought out those teachers who had had a big and lasting effect on me. And thanked them for it! I thought at the time, and it was brought back to me the other day, how happy those schoolmasters looked when they heard my words pretty much out of the blue.

All of which brings me to why I am telling you this. Pretty obvious, huh? Whether you are a camper, a staff member or a parent, you all must have had counselors, teachers, coaches or mentors that made a big difference in your life. It may have been recently, or maybe it was several years or more ago. But when was the last time you told them about it?

You know, the irony is, it may well be that what was a huge deal to you is something that they may barely remember – or at least not in the detail that you do. But I can assure you that they will love hearing what a positive impact they were able to make. And the longer ago it was, the more impactful your telling them my be.

So, November’s the month for Thanksgiving, right? Time to pick up a pen, surf through Facebook, get out an old yearbook, scroll through your iPhone; heck some of us oldsters may even have a dusty rolodex filed away (kids, ask your parents about that!).  Find that person or people and let them know how you feel!

And then take that goodness that was shown to you and pass it on!