The beauty of opening the ears

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Silence Can Teach A Lot.

By: Ben Stanfield

One rainy evening recently I sat in a coaches office at a nearby high school waiting to on him to talk with me about the team’s upcoming game that week. I knew he had a lot of things he needed to get done, so I didn’t mind sitting in his office to wait for him.

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As I sat there, my mind was noisy with thoughts of what all I had to do for that week and how busy my schedule was getting.

After the mass chaos of picturing my planner and getting it all done cleared from my head, I leaned back in the chair and relaxed for five minutes out of that evening while I had the chance. What I heard next was something special that goes unseen and unheard.

What I heard taught me a lot about what life is all about.

I heard the familiar voice of another coach down the hall and what sounded like a player sitting in his office having a conversation. I listened intently with a free and clear mind that was finally not worrying about so much, and what I heard touched me deeply.

The coach down the hall was listening to the player work through some of his schoolwork, and helping him with parts that he struggled with.

It was getting late, and it was way past dark outside. That coach didn’t have to be at work that late helping him out. He could have left, but he stayed.

It was one of those situations in life where I was proud of a fellow man for doing what is right, and going beyond what is right at the same time.

I think of a coach as being a father figure if needed. Someone whose door is always open, and the lights are always on. Someone who will help a young man get to college, and will help him pursue his biggest dreams.

I didn’t always think that way, but after that night my opinion was formed.

The coach I heard that night is a big man with an even bigger heart.

He told me once in conversation what his personal schedule was like during football season. He gets to work around seven each morning, and he is usually one of the last to leave after practice each day. Sometimes practices go on until after seven at night.

The particular night I heard him in that back office, practice had ended almost an hour and a half before.

He could have left and gone home. He could have gone to eat dinner with friends. He could even have kids of his own at home.

There was however a kid that needed help, and he gave his time and his love to that young man.

I have been to many football games in my life, and played in a few too. I can tell you that for the most part, I forgot what we did at practice and how we prepared for games.

The young man in that office will probably forget about what went on at his team’s practice years from now too.

However, one thing he will never forget for the rest of his life is that his coach cared about him as a person, and not just as a football player. His coach loved him when he needed it, and was there to guide him down the right path.

That coach was hitting a place in that young man’s heart that he will always remember, but the one thing that coach didn’t know was that he touched two people that day.

Sometimes it’s best if we all clear our heads and listen to the great things going on around us. Silence can teach a lot.