More on the subject of experts – this time I am thinking of legends in high school. Goddard High School, KS, specifically.
I watched a wrestling tournament this past weekend. I found myself watching the coach more than I watched the wrestlers themselves. Of course, the wrestlers were in fantastic shape; low body fat, good muscle tone, anaerobic machines with lungs like a blacksmith’s bellows. Three 2-minute rounds, unless there was a tie. Then a 4th round. If still tied, a 30-second round to decide it. It quickly became clear why this team was a dynasty.
As each match progressed, the coach watched intently. Each time his wrestler had a moment of space to hear direction, the coach would shout a command. The command was often a short phrase or even a single word. The wrestler, even as busy and winded as he was, would indicate with a flick of finger or a nod of his head that he heard and understood the coach. That obedience, and comprehension, under pressure indicates how completely successful that coach is with his athletes. Only the best athletes can be coached within a competition, and only the best coaches continue to be listened to. I never saw that coach STOP coaching. He never ran out of ideas or commands. He never gave up on his wrestler.
That team lost very few matches that day. Although I didn’t stay for the entire competition, his team clearly was superior to the other 4 or 5 teams. A dynasty continues there and indications are strong for a powerful showing at the state level.
I also hear that the choral director from Goddard High is retiring. A dynasty, indeed, in that program, too. We have had the honor of watching and enjoying this director for the last 11 years while our three children went through high school. She consistently trains individuals, small ensembles, and large groups to excel in local, regional, statewide, and national performances and competitions.
“Music soothes the savage beast” – merely listening to her choral groups perform over the years has borne the truth of that statement out. Beautiful music, sung poorly, does not satisfy. Poor music, sung without intention and investment, does not satisfy. Fortunately, for this beast (the author), poor music and poor performances simply do not occur with these groups.
This director has always chosen well-written music, and, further, has coached her singers to pour their hearts into their voices. Somehow she convinces high school students, year after year, to set aside their egos, worries, relationship drama, cellphones, and jobs. She convinces them to show their love for each other through the harmony of song. How does a parent NOT weep at the beauty?
Recently, I have had the luxury of time. Time to reflect on what I see. Time to appreciate people who strive for excellence. Time to glory at lives changed by the love of a person investing in another.
We run and run and run to keep up with our list of demands, tasks, chores, hopes, dreams. ALL of it matters. ALL of it.
But I say it matters most to those who are otherwise discarded, cast away, given up on – those who are saved by a mighty heart. A willingness, by this coach and this director, to examine each soul that walks into the frame.
A mighty heart of unbending willpower – determined to save them all.