Once A Hound, Always A Hound
I've been coaching at Assumption for 24 years. I've worked with three Presidents, four Athletic Directors and numerous coaches of many different sports. In those years, I have experienced many wonderful moments and many difficult times both on and off the court. But nothing would have ever prepared me to navigate what we are all going through at this moment. One day everything seemed to be going along at a normal pace. Students had left for spring break; spring sport athletes and coaches had just started their seasons. Fall and winter athletes and coaches were excited to get their off-season workouts moving forward, when in the blink of an eye, the whole world changed.
As I sit in my dining room, which has now become my office, at my dining room table, which has now become my desk, I find myself trying to search for the right words for this coach's tribute. In one sense I am grateful that our team was able to finish our season even if it ended with a difficult loss. Knowing that other athletes were not as fortunate to start much less complete their seasons, suddenly that last game feels more like a privilege to have had the opportunity to play in the first place.
I am heartbroken for all seniors, athletes and non-athletes for what they are going through, but most of all I am heartbroken for our three seniors, that they did not have the chance to spend their last semester at Assumption with their friends, classmates and teammates. Sometimes in sports, you don't know when your last game will take place until that final second when you realize you have won or lost the game. But none of Assumption's seniors knew when they left for spring break, that they were leaving campus for what was essentially the last time.
But then I start to think about all the families that will and have lost loved ones to this terrible virus. Those whose parents have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by and students that may not be able to return to Assumption in the fall. It is then that I try to find the silver lining in such a terrible situation.
What I see are families slowing down and spending time together. Going for walks and hikes and having meals together. Talking face to face and laughing and smiling. Finding ways to connect with friends and teammates and spending a lot of time on this thing called "Zoom". I find myself appreciating the little things in life like being able to go to a restaurant whenever I want to. Getting up and going to work everyday and seeing my colleagues who I know now more than ever are also my friends. I also can appreciate more the big things like having a job that I love, having family and friends who I care about and who care about me and a team that I miss more than you can imagine.
I wish for our seniors that they can get through this difficult time and soon they can look back and remember all the truly wonderful times they had at Assumption. That they look back and know that this unprecedented occurrence was yet another journey at Assumption that will shape them moving forward. That they are strong and resilient, and this will not slow them down from their success moving forward. That the strong bonds they have made are too strong to be broken and a semester apart will only make those bonds grow stronger. I hope this adversity helps them to appreciate all they have and had at Assumption. That they will always be part of the Assumption Community but more importantly they will always be part of the Women's Basketball Family. A family that is there for one another in good times and in bad, a family that looks out for one another in times of crisis. A family where everyone comes together whether you played on the same team or graduated years apart.
Today I am thankful for our current team, our past players and our future Hounds, for their love, dedication and commitment to our program. You all make me the proudest and luckiest coach in the world. I could never pay you back for everything you all have given me. I am truly humbled to be your Coach.
ONCE A HOUND ALWAYS A HOUND.
-Head Women's Basketball Coach, Kerry Phayre