How do you say goodbye to one of your main mentors? To a man who taught you about soccer as a coach, but also taught you about life at the same time?
Chance's club soccer coach of about 4 years suddenly died a few weeks ago. This was the man who taught the boys on the soccer field how to play soccer, but also how to be men. He was a guiding force in the boy's lives and very loved by the boys.
Chance was devastated when he found out his club coach had died. Chance plays soccer on the high school team with club coach's son and they are friends. Coach Brown was always on the side lines of the school games cheering his boys on. Coach Brown was the coach of the competitive league that Chance played on during the off season from high school and during the summer.
Coach Brown knew how to help his players reach their potential and he believed in the boys. For many of the boys he was like a second father. At the funeral, there were many of Coach Brown's soccer boys sitting in the seats. The boys from Chance's high school soccer team sat along the back rows dressed in their school uniforms to show their respects and to support their teammates who had just lost their father.
Chance was a pallbearer and sat with the family. As is typical in our area after a funeral, there was a meal provided for family and friends of Coach Brown by the family's local church. Our family was invited to this meal which was an honor. We were able to talk to some of coach's extended family and sit with his young son who is friends with our younger kids. The kids have played with each other for years at the games as their older brothers played soccer.
Chance sat at a table with members of the soccer team. The boys had a game to play that afternoon and so as soon as they finished eating, they were off to the school soccer field to play a game. They played for Coach Brown.
Chance made a goal during the game and as he ran downfield with everyone cheering, he lifted his head up to the sky and held up his index finger to say number one. "This one is for you coach!" he said.
Coach Brown had a saying of "lift where you stand," meaning help people out wherever you are standing. He was a great example of this, opening up his heart to the boys who played soccer for him, helping neighbors with house repairs or stopping to help people he encountered.
So in honor of coach we all plan to "lift where we stand," and keep his memory alive by following his example.
Thank you Coach Brown for the time you put in as a soccer coach and for the kind of man you were. We will see you again on the other side.