Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Thanksgiving… the season to be thankful! I want to join the festivities by celebrating some kids and what they represent. Youth sports can be confusing in its design and purpose sometimes, but there are some essentials that some kids, parents, and coaches value and appreciate and do not take for granted.

So, here is my small list (many more could have been mentioned) of the kids I want to recognize for upholding youth sports to its purest values. Yes, we can celebrate those mentioned, but more so the characteristics and the values that they represent.

Here we go:

Ø  Avraham Friedman…. For being able to put sports into perspective with his family and religious beliefs. His Jewish heritage and convictions do not allow him to play sports from sunset on Fridays to sunset on Saturdays. This makes it difficult to keep youth sports within these time allotments. But in the summer when later sunsets allowed him to be on a team, he was all smiles. He loved being on a team, having a uniform, and he gave 100%. He cherished the opportunity. Thank you for demonstrating priorities.

Ø  Josh Cunningham and Cameron Pinches…. For being that perfect example of working hard, never giving up and giving everything you’ve got, all the time, no matter what! Getting worn out and having a dirty uniform is the norm! Thank you for being the example of what it looks like to give 100%.

Ø  James Chamberland…. For showing the value of relationships. Winning comes second to enjoying friendships. Many kids want to play sports because of the fun they get from having more friends. James has that kind of heart and personality that spurs on friendships. Everyone wants James on his team. Thank you for showing the value of relationships.

Ø  Lucas Ceton…. For his never ending smile. What a joy he brings to an hour of practice. Is there anyone else you would want to spend an hour with, other than someone who loves life all the time? Thank you for giving us the joy of living.

Ø  Tanner Forsberg…. For being able to express appreciation. There is never a practice or game that goes by without Tanner coming up to his coaches and thanking them for their time and efforts. Are you kidding me! Those kinds of things never go unnoticed. What an honor to coach someone like that. Thank you for saying “thank you”.

Ø  Zack Kressin and Andrew Augustine… for being willing to listen and practice the drills trusting their coaches that it is for their best interest. Even when it seems the drills are not that fun or needed, you trust your coach for the benefits that come from following his guidance. It is for these reasons you have improved so much! Thank you for being the proof that improvement comes from cheerfully coming under the direction of your coaches.

Ø  Alex Burke…. For loving to play lots of sports and not specializing at such an early age. Being a well-rounded athlete will have its benefits in the long run. Thank you for your desire to try lots of things and for being willing to learn lots of disciplines.

Ø  Ben Williams… for wanting to give back to the kids. To have the outlook that since you have benefited from sports, the natural thing is to help others gain the same. Thank you for demonstrating a giving spirit and for all those hours you donate to the younger kids. What a gift you are.

Ø  Angela Castillo…. For being able to turn anything into fun! What a delight you are to those who are around you. It takes a special person to create that kind of atmosphere. Thank you for “getting it”.

Ø  Janie and Sarah Unkefer…. For being so coachable. You are a coach’s dream come true. You are willing to give all that it takes, work hard, never question your coaches’ intentions, trust your coach, and all with a positive attitude. It is this character that will take you a long way in life. Thank you for being a leader and a role model.

Ø  Ben Stryczek and Eddie Chavez…. For being that youth coach that defies the normal coach. You love your kids and show by your demeanor and spoken word that relationships, character building and skill development are far more important than your win loss record. Thank you for being a gift to these kids and their families.

Ø  Parents…. Thank you to all of you parents that support and value these characteristics and encourage your kids in this manner. You make youth sports a pleasure.

I hope you all are having a wonderful thanksgiving season… a time to reflect on things in your life you are thankful for.

For questions and comments, you can email Tom Kuyper at:


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