To my players,
Thank you for being great kids … not just basketball players who played for me, but wonderful kids … and I am so proud of you all. When this season is over, I hope you never forget how special you kids made it … I never played basketball and never coached before, but you made my job very easy and fun. You will ALWAYS be my first team, my FAVORITE team, and I will never forget you.
Please keep this letter. As you get older, look back and know that there was so much more that you accomplished than just winning games. As an athlete, you got good exercise, which is important to your health and makes you a confident person. Also, together, you, your teammates, and I learned to overcome adversity, such as losing our first two games. But we learned to work together and ended up becoming the best team. Our season offers a great life lesson: It’s not always how you start, but how you finish. In basketball you will make mistake — you might miss the shot, turn the ball over, or get called on for a foul. You will make mistakes in life too and that’s perfectly fine. The most important thing is to learn from them and move on. That’s how you become a better player — and a better person.
You weren’t always the bigger team, the taller team, or the team with the better record, but YOU BELIEVED IN YOURSELVES, YOU WERE CONFIDENT, and one game at a time WE BEAT EVERYONE IN OUR WAY because WE GAVE IT OUR ALL, WE PLAYED GREAT DEFENSE, WE OUT-REBOUNDED the other team … you did everything I asked of you … thank you! Just for the record, I ALWAYS believed in you and knew you were good basketball players, and I’m sorry I couldn’t let each of you always start or play more minutes.
To my players, I know you will go on to play other sports or play on other basketball teams. Keep up the great work. ALWAYS give it your best, even when you’re not at your best. Sometimes you will feel sick, tired, lazy, or sad and that’s understandable, but you’re always better off with a GOOD ATTITUDE. A good attitude will get you very far in life with school, sports, jobs, EVERYTHING! Respect yourself, your teachers, friends, even those you might not like, and people will always think highly of you. Always be thankful to your parents or whomever takes care of you and gets you to your games.
I have a secret: I was scared to coach you and I didn’t believe in myself when I first met you. I felt bad for you when we lost our first two games. But one game at a time, we won and our confidence grew … TOGETHER! Thank you kids for believing in me as your coach. I might be older than you but you made me a better person. In some ways it was you who coached me. In each of you, I see a leader with so much potential. DREAM BIG AND WORK HARD TO MAKE THAT DREAM COME TRUE! I BELIEVE IN YOU! There is nothing you can’t do if you continue to work hard. JUST LIKE I SAY NEVER GIVE UP ON A PLAY, NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELVES … NOT WITH SCHOOL, NOT WITH SPORTS, NOTHING!!! So promise me, and promise yourselves that after our season is over, you will continue to play hard, study hard, and respect one another. That’s the Piston way…
WE HAVE ONE MORE GAME, PISTONS! WE HAVE A 6-GAME WINNING STREAK! YOU ARE IN FIRST PLACE!!! FINISH STRONG!!! KEEP UP THE HARD WORK WHEN WE GET TO THE PLAYOFFS. IN FACT, PLAY HARDER THAN YOU EVER HAVE: RUN FASTER, GUARD BETTER, JUMP HIGHER. HUSTLE ON DEFENSE! GET YOUR REBOUNDS ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE! ALWAYS GO FOR A STEAL! MOST IMPORTANTLY, ALWAYS HAVE FUN!!! IN MY EYES, YOU ARE ALL ALL-STARS. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE AND WORK AS A TEAM.
THIS IS OUR CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON IF WE REALLY WANT IT! LET’S DO THIS PISTONS!!!
Your Coach, John