“That’s some classic lacrosse right there,” Coach Mayer says after a great play.
4:45 p.m. on a sunny weekday afternoon, he drives his car up onto the field for another challenging, crafty, communicative practice; he’s head coach of the girls’ Varsity White lacrosse team for Arrowhead High School. But he doesn’t only teach girls how to play lacrosse, he also helps them excel in life. He reminds his athletes of what is the right thing to do and what types of people they want to be. Always striving to stretch our comfort zones, he remind his athletes studies are important and makes seamless smiles simultaneously spread.
He’s a tall man with brown hair who is punctual, playful, and passionate. He’s a financial advisor, a lacrosse coach, and a father—and not just to his biological children, but also to the girls he coaches as well.
Coach Mayer pushes the girls to be their best using an encouraging tone when he says, “Come on, now!” He comes to practice ready to work and prepare for games—but he also wants to know about his players individual lives as well.
“How was your day at school?” “What did you do this weekend?” “Do anything fun today?” Frequently fascinated with our day-to-day activities, these questions Coach Mayer asks us daily. Some days his words accompanying his homemade trail mix, popsicles or licorice. Fortunate for such a genuine, giving, generous coach, I cherish the bountiful bowls with food—they fuel the team with energy.
His knowledge on his players personal lives amazes me. I was a part of Broadway Company, a music theatre group at my high school and I remember the day I had to miss a game to go to Solo and Ensemble (a state vocal competition). I was so sad I had to miss a game.
The morning of my solo, I was nervous, but right before I walked into the room, I got a text…
“Good luck today.” That little text from Coach Mayer boosted my confidence and made some of my butterflies go away. The fact he remembered I had my solo amazed me (and it was during one of our games!).
The practice before prom, he gave a speech most coaches would. He told us to stay safe, be smart and have a good time—but here’s where coach Mayer is different: he also bought a rose for every girl on the team. He even got teary eyed when he said he wanted all of us to stay safe AND if we needed anything, or if we got into a bad situation, to call him and he would come help us.
I remember thinking after practice that I was so lucky to have such an important person in my life. I knew I would always be able to count on Coach Mayer, no matter what kind of situation I ran into. Coach Mayer is always intrigued and interested with our lives—that is what makes him irreplaceable.
When the season ended, the banquet followed. During the banquet, awards were given—I won defensive player of the year! I remember feeling overwhelmed. I felt pride and joy. But before that moment, I never noticed how much I had grown over the season—not only as a player, but also as a person.
At the end of the season, I noticed that whenever there was a mess left-I wanted to stay back and clean up. I always wanted to ask how Coach’s day had gone, as soon as he had finished asking how mine was. Coach taught me to listen when people are talking AND remember what they actually said—because when you remember and bring it up, they smile and say, “hey, you remembered.” These are little things I never thought would make a big deal to anyone. But at the end of the season, those things WERE a big deal to me.
He truly made practice a special and safe place where I could be myself. He cares about each player and his talks before each practice about character, make us grow as people and lacrosse players.
My relationship with Coach Mayer was not over after the season. He still checks in and when I made the lacrosse Varsity Red team this year, he texted me “Anya—congratulations!! So pumped you’ll be on v red this year. Man I’ll miss you! Your top notch attitude will make everyone around you better.”
It’s truly the little things that add up like this that made Coach Mayer so special. Thank you, Coach Mayer, for everything you have done; not only have you increased my level of play in lacrosse, but you also made my character stronger. You’ve been the most influential coach in my life and I’m beyond grateful that I got the opportunity to know you.