For the past two weeks, I have been jazzed to give my 14-year-old volleyball girls their end-of-the-season gift. It is common for me to be excited about unveiling my end-of-the-season gift, simply because I give my team pretty unique gifts, but this year I was more excited than usual.
Last year, I was pretty ding-dang-dong impressed with my gift from last year (which I just now realized I never blogged about…), but this year, I outdid myself.
This year, I used my graphic design skills to create a 12×36” team poster for my team.
And I tell you what, the looks on the girls’ and their parents’ faces were priceless. Their reactions made the time and effort I put into this project totally worth it.
Because of how awesome my gift was, I went to my volleyball club’s award night this past weekend convinced I would win the “best coaches gift” award (a completely non-existent award I was going to award to myself after I confirmed I did in fact have the best team gift). While I am still certain I would have won this award, should it actually exist, my club awarded me something better: coach of the year.
While I am excited and honored to be named coach of the year by my club, the award took me by complete surprise. Since I was so wrapped up in a make-believe award that I was going to award myself later, I completely forgot my club even named a coach of the year. So, as the director was leading into the award, I started trying to guess who of the coaches I know would win it.
Then the club director said “Andrea” – to which my mind immediately jumped to the other Andrea who coaches for our club.
But then, the director said “Gebhart” – to which my immediate response was “oh?!” (Seriously, you can even ask the girls that were sitting next to me.)
As 400-some people started clapping for me and looking in my general direction, it dawned on me that I won an award, an award that was not a figment of my own imaginative yet somewhat narcissistic imagination. I made my way up to the front and as the director said some nice things about me, I stood there, looked at all the familiar faces in the crowd, and thought how lucky I am to be part of such a great club.
I have coached for Nebraska ONE for five seasons (I think?!?), and I cannot even begin to imagine coaching elsewhere. The players are fantastic, the players’ families are amazing, the other coaches are incredible, and the directors are supportive. This club is also a continual reminder of the reason I love volleyball: the family that comes with it. Nebraska ONE truly has become part of my Nebraska family.
So, while I went to our awards night ready to give myself my own make-believe award, I left humbled and grateful.
After having a successful season, designing an epic team gift, and being named coach of the year, I’d have to say it was a dang good season!