Educator of the Year | Teen Ink

Educator of the Year

May 8, 2018
By 8lorenz GOLD, Okauchee, Wisconsin
8lorenz GOLD, Okauchee, Wisconsin
12 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Being pulled up to play my favorite sport, lacrosse, on a varsity level sophomore year was so exhilarating. It took hard work, dedication, and full commitment. After making the team, I was nervous. I was one of three girls that had been pulled up in my grade. Walking onto the field for practice the first day, I was having doubts about playing. All of my friends are on JV. Do I still want to play? Is the coach going to be too hard on us or will it be fun? Do the girls on the team think I deserved this spot? I wasn’t 100% ready to start playing on that team and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go.

On the first day of practice, we had a team talk, introduced ourselves, and met the most selfless, passionate, and supportive coach: Steve Mayer. The first day of practice didn’t go all that bad—we started getting to know each other and spent the first practice simply having fun. With his short, brown hair and his bright, blue eyes, Coach Mayer is definitely the most compassionate Coach I have ever had.

Coach Mayer was always the one determined to help push ourselves until we can no longer push any further. He was such a reliable, resourceful, and relatable person to connect with. From his short five minute encouraging speeches to his sit-down at practice personal experience stories, he was the biggest role-model I had ever looked up to.

Coach Mayer believed in many things, a big one being how important family, God, and self-goals are to have in your life. He referenced personal connections when talking to me, tied in how to grow closer with God, and helped show me how important it is to connect with family and set personal goals for yourself. He has taught me how to grow as a person in practice and out.

It was about the eighth game when I got myself into trouble. I made personal mistakes and got suspended and benched for four games. I was devastated, as he was too. Instead of getting upset/mad at me, Coach Mayer found a way to sit down with me and help me work through the challenges. He spent hours and hours finding ways to support me, motivate me to be a better person in and out of lacrosse, and taught me how to forgive myself when I make those mistakes.

The one thing that he cared about was how it was going to wreck my relationship with my family. He was more focused on helping me forgive and learn than he was about making me suffer. He showed me that there doesn’t always have to be consequences for your mistakes, but instead there are good learning opportunities to take away from those mistakes. He was more understanding than imaginable. He worked with me in and outside of practice so I can get to where I needed to be when I was able to play again.

The first game back, Coach put me in as a starter and continued to throughout the rest of the year. He was no longer disappointed, but instead astonished by how focused and determined I was to move past it and be better for myself and the team. I can’t think of another person who would be more compatible towards me and the game.

It was now March of 2017 and lacrosse tryouts were just around the corner. I pushed and I pushed, but I didn’t make the top Varsity team. Coach worked with me as a junior and believed that one more year of hard work and determination was going to get me on the team for my senior year. He endlessly continued working with me and put his time and focus on me whenever he could. Senior year, I made the team, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

From not knowing him at all and being so nervous about making the team sophomore year, getting suspended early on in the season, him pushing me to work hard during practice, I got to where I wanted to be. Coach Mayer is the most approachable, optimistic, and loving leader anyone could ask for.

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