Thanks, Coach

Coach Ryan Miller points right at me, making the perfect shot, at the 2016-17 Winter sports award banquet.

It’s a pretty well-known fact. I’m a geek. I don’t sports.

In my first years of high school, I failed to see the value in organized athletics. The programs that I involved myself in resided in the shadow left behind by the famed Kenton Atheltic Department. While I attended the games as a social outing, I failed to see the positive impact that they could have on a student.

Despite being an athletic-hating geek, I made a promise to myself my senior year. I worked downtown during Football season, and springtime was loaded down with a new crop of calves that needed full-time attention. So, I would attend as many basketball games as humanly possible. This mission faired pretty well, and after I purchased my camera, I was having a pretty good time snapping some action shots.

One chilly morning of a county battle when Ada traveled down 309 to Kenton. I was armed with my newly purchased camera when I was approached by Ty Hiller, who was operating the scoreboard. The announcer didn’t show, and they needed someone on the mic.

I can talk, but I don’t know a dang thing about this.

Very luckily, my “Hoops IQ” was there, and we made the dynamic duo of basketball announcing the rest of the season. Not only was it an awesome time behind a mic, the program had me hook, line, and sinker. There was a certain kind of thrill associated with announcing the Lady Wildcat starters with the beat of Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius” driving you. It was a feeling that I can’t really compare to anything else.

Previously, I had worked with Coach Miller in my time at Kenton Middle School and through high school in the area of audio/video communication. He is the originator of my interest in sound engineering. As mentioned, I had dropped by a few games to see what was going on (besides what else was there to do in the dead of winter?) I continued to believe that they ran around with this ball, fired it up at an iron hoop, and went home only to repeat the sequence the next game.

I was quickly proven wrong. As I started attending more of the games, my eyes were open to the atmosphere that is athletics. Those girls did everything together and were willing to risk it all for the team and the game. Coach Miller and his staff have not only created a great climate for people to collaborate and make great memories, but they have instilled a passion for the game in their players.

Today, the Kenton City Schools Board of Education accepted Coach Miller’s resignation as he stepped down from the head coach spot on the Lady Wildcat bench. Fulfilling my news duties I called him when the news first broke to get his take on his last eight years. We ran through the stereotypical interview of this nature. Feel free to read that here. But then he said something. Something that grabbed my attention.

There’s a lot more to life than sports. Sports are an avanue to learn about unity, about dealing with adversity. It builds a lot of character so learn from sports. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about giving your best and being the best you that you can be.

Coach Miller goes on to tell a story a former player and a friend of mine, Kelsey.

I had a player, Kelsey Baughman, who taught us a lot during that time and she would always say “You just do you” and I have a modeled a lot of my philosophy and really it’s just be the best you that you can be.

To me, this says two things. One, you can always learn something from anyone. Young, old, or otherwise. This also said to me that the things we do aren’t in the now. We don’t do them for the W or the L. We don’t do them to get the gold star or the famed award. We do the things we do because we love it. The sport, the contest, the concept, the job, the campaign, the It’s our heart and soul and for some, what we hold most dear to our hearts in life. Because while the record will go in a dusty book and sat on a shelf, the memories made will be things not so easily forgotten.

Thanks, Coach, for a great run. You and your team taught me to be open-minded. You taught me to be inclusive, and you taught me how to be a Wildcat. It has been my honor and a pleasure to be involved in the tail end of this ride.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *