Each week, Coach Mike Medeiros meets his team at Colonial Acres Elementary in Hayward, CA. He coaches the kids in his neighborhood hoping that they feel they have role models to look up to. “I grew up in this area,” says Medeiros. “I didn’t really have a positive male role model to look up to and give me guidance and I didn’t always make the right decisions. Sometimes I got myself into trouble.” That’s what he wants to change for the team of kids he coaches.
Coach Mike admits that it’s not always easy. “Working with youth takes patience and dedication. It can be frustrating at times.” He describes Oscar, a 12-year-old boy who by height, weight, and size exceeds most other kids his age. Coach Mike says he spent an entire season working with Oscar to improve his confidence, and gave him specific tips on how to use his size to play sports effectively. “He’s a gentle giant,” says Mike. When working with kids like Oscar, “the reward is knowing I’m making a difference and showing them how to be good people.” Medeiros says it’s his greatest hope that his kids will learn life lessons, that he might have taught them a thing or two.
We learn from Oscar, that Coach Mike did just that. Oscar says he feels good with his team and that his coach has taught him the essentials of flag football, basketball, and soccer, but it goes further than that. He says that Coach Mike has taught him “how to be a better person.”
“My coach teaches me how to get better and be nice on the field. Coach Mike also says it’s important that we respect our teammates, be nice to them, and help them. He says we are always supposed to be ‘good sports’ and cheer them up if they are down.” Medeiros’ advice benefits Oscar at home too. “Coach helps me help my brother. When my brother gets mad, I tell him not to be. I tell him to keep trying until you succeed.”
Coach Mike blushed when he heard Oscar’s words, and said, “Sometimes we don’t realize what a big impact we have on their lives.”