Bay to Bay has always been a supportive community. Whether it be parents coordinating carpools to get their sons to practice, coaches sharing best practices and brainstorming lineups, or teams supporting each other as they play in a big match. During these past two weekends, it was so incredible to see the amount of support the entire Bay to Bay community provided to myself and Arielle.
As many of you know, Arielle is currently 8 months pregnant with our first child; a baby girl named Rylie Covey Houlihan. During a long break on the Saturday of the Far Western tournament we were able to take a moment and head outside to the team camp sites. Once we arrived, more and more Bay to Bay parents began to gather around our teams camp. Within 10 minutes, a large group had gathered and brought Arielle and myself the most incredible gesture we have ever received - a surprise baby shower in the middle of the team camp grounds.
I (fittingly) received a large box of diapers to prepare for many late night wake up calls and Arielle was showered with all kinds of incredible gifts for our "Bay to Baby". Both Arielle and I cannot say thank you enough for all of the support we received from the team parents, our parent liaison Scott Morris, and dedicated coaches.
As this was all happening, I caught myself looking around at the incredible community of people that had gone out of their way to show their support.
It got me thinking about just how closely the art of coaching and parenting are intertwined. My dad, just like any coach, has always stressed the importance of the fundamentals. He taught me responsibility, accountability, and the importance of hard work. Though my father was tough, he was always in my corner, teaching whatever life lessons he could along the way.
Like any great coach, parents are always trying to prepare their child for challenges and encouraging them to reach their full potential. These lessons ring true on the volleyball court. Adversity is an inevitability, and teaching these young men how to deal with those challenges is what defines the success of a coach - not the wins and losses.
As a soon-to-be father, I find myself thinking about which values I want to pass along to my daughter. Drawing from my experience coaching young athletes, I settle on a central theme of accountability and confidence. Both Arielle and I work to instill these value in our players through patient, honest, and some times loud dialogue.
When it comes down to it, parenting and coaching are all about leadership. Parenting is the ability to teach valuable life lessons to our children in the form of self-confidence, persistence, and the ability to handle adversity. Coaching is the ability to disguise these lessons behind the rules of a game.
Thank you again to the entire Bay to Bay community for your continued support of Arielle and I in this journey to parenthood. I can speak for Arielle when I say, we love getting to work with so many incredible athletes and families. It truly does take a village!