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Patricia Seeman: Coach, Health, Gym • John Dickinson High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


Have you ever had a role model, a coach, or a teacher who made you feel like you wanted to become the best person that you could be? That’s how I felt before field hockey games when my coach would have the team huddle, bang our sticks together and chant, “She who has the will to win will not be beat! Let’s go!” At that ­moment, it seemed like all my goals were attainable.

Let me introduce you to my field hockey and softball coach, my health and gym teacher, the toughest woman in my school, and the most generous and caring person in the world: the one and only Mrs. Seeman. I transferred to Dickinson High School halfway through freshman year. Although my best friend went to school there, it didn’t compensate for my loneliness and low self-esteem. The other kids in my gym class formed groups; I sat alone every day. I didn’t belong and I hated school.

One day my gym teacher, Mrs. Seeman, approached me and asked if I had ever played softball. Even though I hadn’t, she encouraged me to give it a try. I told myself, “Give it a try. If it’s really bad, you simply quit.” I had never joined a team before, but I soon found that playing gave me a purpose, a reason to support my school, and a way to establish myself. The love I have for my school now can’t be defined, but I know it exists because of Mrs.Seeman.

Everything about being on a sports team with Mrs. Seeman is like being part of a family. She is very generous and always makes sure we have lots of sunflower seeds. She surprises us with food after games, holds team-building sessions at her house, let’s us meet her children, and gives us a ride home if we need it.

We are taught to treat everyone on the team with respect and pick different partners to work with during practice. At the start, I didn’t feel comfortable around most of the girls. Mrs. Seeman told me that I was a wonderful person and I needed to let others get to know me like she had.

Mrs. Seeman has seen me at my best, she’s seen me at my worst, and she’s never given up on me or stopped caring. I was scared when I first started playing softball. I was scared to catch a fastball; I was scared of everything. Mrs. Seeman taught me to believe in myself. There have even been countless times when she and I did not see eye to eye. It would always end with me crying, but we’d talk it out, and she’d give me a big hug. Sharing both good and bad times has brought us closer and made me stronger.

At the end of the year, we were told that some teachers would be losing their jobs due to budget cuts. Mrs. Seeman was going to be one of them. I couldn’t stand the thought of it. I felt so strongly that I e-mailed the superintendent. Others did too, and it was enough for him to allow Mrs. Seeman to keep her job! I admired how determined and fear-less Mrs. Seeman remained throughout the entire situation.

I’m different now. I have a lot of friends and am more confident. I have grown both emotionally and as an athlete. I know this will continue because I have a coach who brings out the best in everyone.

A coach who deserves to be recognized is one who enjoys her job, has passion, is a good teacher and knows a lot about the sport she coaches. A good coach is committed to the team, individual integrity, and personal growth. As a team, we’ve improved each time we finished a game, even ones we didn’t win. As one of Ms. Seeman’s athletes, I’ve learned more than just the sport; I’ve learned values.

I will always love you, Mrs. Seeman. Thank you for everything!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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World_Traveler said...
May 22, 2013 at 10:53 am
Awesome job Rachel!  Congrats to both you and Mrs. Seeman!!
 
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