That full sports circle
Xs and Arrows
December 9, 2023
It is safe to say that we are blessed with several givers in this community – specifically in the world of sports.
I look at pictures of our local teams and spot many coaches and volunteers that came up through the ranks locally, and are giving back to the sport and the community they love.
It is not a foreign concept in athletics. Coaches are usually comprised of former athletes themselves, some played at a high level, others not so much, but their love for the game and the appreciation of the lessons it provided them personally are part of the driving force that has them continuing the circle of life so to speak, the complete full circle of their career from athlete to mentor. From player to coach.
It is a critical circle in small communities especially, while we have certainly benefitted from those that have chosen to call Tehachapi home and have jumped right in to share their expertise with our youngsters. It also takes plenty of alumni from our various programs to contribute as well. When they get to pass the same experiences on to their kids, the same experiences on the same fields and courts that they once competed on, it's unique and undoubtedly special.
I was speaking with someone the other day regarding my "long-term investment" strategy when it comes to youth sports. While I am involved in coaching my own children throughout the year in things like baseball and soccer, I spent quite a bit of time supporting and advocating for our high school athletes via the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. This person was surprised with my role as President of this nonprofit as they knew my children were still youngsters, and just shy of a decade away from competing for THS.
I went on to explain that part of my reason for being involved was to make a difference now, so when my kids, Lord willing, don the green and black for Tehachapi, their programs will be better than ever. Considering we had some pretty lean and dark times in the prior years, it was time to make that commitment now, so there were strong vibrant programs available for the Costelloe boys in the future. I learned during my professional career that organizational and cultural change takes time, especially wholesale changes that impact trajectory.
That's not to say there are not plenty of opportunities to make an impact right away. The formula is simple, create a sense of both pride and urgency for student-athletes and community members so they are proud of their programs, while creating a desire for others to want to be a part of it. Whether that is a student who witnesses firsthand the quality of uniforms, facilities and camaraderie, or fans, supporters and business owners who might not have a vested interest, but see the value of being connected to that program.
We are surrounded by plenty of those types of people in Tehachapi. When coaching staffs work with the same kids for years at the youth level and then also have the chance to work with them in high school, that's a heck of an investment. Part of the recent success of the Tehachapi Warriors Football program is due to that, husbands, wives, fathers and coaches contributed years of their own time into that sport, and it has produced results. The same is true with sports like basketball, baseball and wrestling. In all of which we see young people who are being coached and guided by those that went through the same process they did when they were young. It makes small-town athletes that much more special; it makes the wins sweeter and the championships even more meaningful.
It is also part of one's duty as an athlete, or former athlete. Whether one realizes it or not, plenty of lessons were learned while practicing, playing, winning and especially losing. Those lessons apply to life, to careers and they are burning inside with a desire to be provided to the next generation, lest they be lost.
A special thanks to all those former players turned parents, coaches and volunteers that are on this journey. Your impact is being noticed by your peers, and one day, that impact will be applied by those you are mentoring now when it is their turn to blow the whistle, hold the clipboard and prepare the next generation of young men and women to compete for our community.
It's the circle of the sports life, and one poetic beautiful circle it is.
Corey Costelloe has covered NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter, broadcaster and athletics administrator. He advocates for the value of athletic competition and serves as the President of the Tehachapi Warriors Booster Club. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.