Dear Class of 2015,

I know it is with a heavy heart that we all left the 2011 football season. It is never easy to end on a loss, especially one so contentious.

I hope you know how much success we had as a team and as individuals.

The joy of coaching for me happens when the lightbulbs illuminate in each of you, whether it’s on the field or off. That critical moment transfers potential into actual – theoretical into real.

There are 100 examples from this season … and to the last minutes of our last game. I’ve written about joy and the role I think that plays in motivation, and I’ve experienced the heartache with each of you in failure, loss and regret. I hope that we’ve set a strong foundation for you as leaders of the future, each with a different skill set, each with a different motivation, but each with a lightbulb switched on.

I hope you’ll take to heart the advice of Coach W and Coach L – we lose games in the weightroom, in the off-season, on the weekends. The will to win is defined by choices we all make – and your future success is defined by your current actions.

I can’t tell you that it’s always a factor of how much you want it, how much you prepare or how much you think you’re ready. Sometimes winning, like losing, will sneak up on you. Sometimes it’s not everything you always wanted. Still, it will always teach you something for the next time: being painful or full of joy depends on the moment when it arrives.

The few who are finishing the season with the varsity are setting the stage. Please be good ambassadors for yourselves and for your class. Work hard, listen hard, study hard. See what it feels like to pour your soul into something, and cast off the bitterness of those around you. The future is in your control. Make that count.

I want you to know that the thing that made the most impact on me this year was hearing that I was your first female coach. It surprised me a little, but I have never underestimated what it meant to you or for me. I will take great pride in seeing what you will do, both with football and in life, over the years ahead. Let me know if I can ever help you on that road.

I believe in you.
Coach Smith

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