By Kathy DeBoer
A week ago Ron Kordes of Assumption High School in Louisville, Ky. won his 16th, yes, you read it right, his sixteenth state championship. The same week, Al Givens resigned his head coaching position after 18 years at Weber State and 25 years in the profession. As this fall season comes to a close, we will experience many more bittersweet endings.
The final serve of a season brings both exuberant body piles at mid-court and melancholy farewell handshakes. Endings produce new plaques to hang on office walls and walls that must be stripped of a career’s worth of memories. After final matches we cry tears of joy, pride, and relief, or tears of regret, disappointment, and shock.
Next week I will travel to the land of body piles, back slaps and bonuses. The 16 most successful teams in National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Division I will meet in West Plains, Mo. to determine their national championship. I’ll also join the NCAA Division III elite eight in St. Louis where their national champions will be crowned at Washington University.
All the teams playing in these two events will be finishing remarkable seasons. All will give credit, in their public statements, to the dual volleyball gods of hard work and team chemistry. All will vow to leave the floor with no regrets.
That same week we will say goodbye to Alabama’s Judy Green, who after 24 years of coaching and over 600 wins, will be looking for work.
This is our life, our profession, where we cycle through our own episodes of ‘survivor.’ We chose it. We say we love it. If we are lucky, we leave it with no regrets.
There is no smarmy message or hidden warning in this column. I do not write it to second-guess any administrator. The pragmatic truth of a coaching life is that the performance review is seasonal, public and usually, heartlessly obvious.
At best, it keeps us humble, whether we are ending a Palin-esque or a Pelosi-esque season.