“Open Mic”

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Several people requested that I share more about the Coaches’ Conference.  One aspect of a conference is to have an “open mic” session when anyone can stand up with a mic and share anything about coaching, family, their relationship to God, etc.  I think this is the most inspiring and informing benefit of a conference.  An old proverb says “Give people a fact or an idea and you can enlighten their minds:  tell them a story and you touch their souls.”

One coach shared a letter he had just received from an athlete.  He said he had never received a letter from a former athlete.  The young boy had always been in trouble.  The coach took an interest in him, loved him, disciplined him, and told him he believed in him.  The young boy was an excellent athlete.  Years later he writes a letter to the coach thanking him for the difference he had made in his life.  The coach didn’t really realize what he had done for the boy.

Most of the things we teach in life are not in teaching sessions.  Most learning takes place when people just see how we act and react in different situations.  This boy thanked the coach for turning his life around.  He is now engaged in a successful vocation.  He told the coach that he would probably have been dead, or on drugs, or in prison like so many of his friends.  That coach made a difference!

It reminds me that many of us need to take a moment and write a letter or make a phone call to a coach or a teacher that has made a difference in our lives.  When is the last time that you thanked someone for making a difference in your life?

I was so impressed with Chanda Rigby, the new women’s basketball coach at Troy University.  She has a reputation for turning programs around.

At an “open mic” she shared how she got into basketball.  Her dad was a big sports enthusiast and she had two brothers.  One of her brothers was extremely fast and the other was extremely big and strong.  The father would often be with his kids and refer to one of her brothers and say “this is going to be my running back.”  He would refer to the other brother and say “this is going to be my linebacker.”

Chanda had heard him say that several times.  One day as a little girl, after he had referred to his two sons, she asked the question, “Dad, what am I going to be?”  Her dad thought for a moment and said, “You are going to be my basketball player.”

That is how Chanda got into basketball.  It is important to remember what we say to people.  Her daddy spoke empowering words into her life and what a difference that has made.

She had recently coached one of the top Junior College basketball teams in the nation.  When she came to Troy, she asked about the girls being recruited.  She then posed this question, “Can this girl play in a Division I Final Four?”  When her staff indicated that a recruit couldn’t play at that level, Chanda said, “We don’t need to be recruiting her.”  She has set a high standard. She recently signed one of the nation’s top recruits.   I predict that she will soon have Troy in the Final Four!

What story could you tell in a “open mic” session?

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