While life continues to wait for no one, I find myself slowing down and reflecting on how blessed I am on this journey. Each month Chris Smeal and the good people at FCG give me the opportunity to share some, what I like to call “bright light” I am exposed on this journey. It’s a roller coaster because of the mortality and setbacks families experience, but heartwarming seeing the love, support and friendship provided by our programs from all the coaches and players. Some “bright lights” are brighter than others, head coach Bonnie Rosen of Temple University and her Owl players are game changers and the epitome of how NEDvocates make a difference in this world.
A Coach vs. a Leader
While we focus on athletes and coaches in the NEDzone monthly at FCG, it’s coaches/leaders that help us look at our lives and behaviors from deeper and broader vantage points. The feedback players receive whether constructive or critical is often where personal growth is experienced and is at its best. I always say that the difference between a coach and a leader is coaches can communicate the difference between x’s and o’s while leaders develop young men and women to make a difference in this world. The latter is life fulfilling. Nobody embodies this mantra and has a demonstrated track record more than Head Coach Bonnie Rosen of Temple University women’s lacrosse. What differentiates Head Coach Bonnie Rosen from the other NCAA D1 coaches is how she gets the fullest potential from her players. How? Simply focusing on “developing athletic skills on the field and life skills OFF the field” as the priority while she is coaching. This may appear as an inverted style but the records don’t lie and why she is so decorated and upheld in the coaching community as the consummate professional. The development is the most transformative for any player on and off the field. Leadership is more than just a job. Leaders touch lives and hold destinies in their hands; it is a sacred calling with sacred responsibility. Great coaches blend expertise and facilitation to help players go beyond their previously held boundaries. This combination of coaching and leadership instilled upon their players will result in high dividends on and off the field. Off the field is where Bonnie exceeds expectations.
As one of the first NCAA division 1 head coaches to adopt a child through Friends of Jaclyn, over the years she has adopted three families and paved the way for life changing opportunities for hundreds of children. Great coaches blend expertise and facilitation to help players go beyond their previously held boundaries. Bonnie has achieved this and has a successful track record in the three FOJ adoptions she has facilitated, always instilling and encouraging her players to engage in improving the quality of life for children battling the beast. It’s always a privilege and honor speaking with Bonnie and getting her insight and perspective on and off the field.
“There is something magical that happens when you bring sports teams together with children battling brain tumors to provide live friendship and support.
It’s not something that can adequately be described in words. You know how meaningful it is by the smiles on a child’s face, the gratitude of a parent knowing that their child feels so much love and acceptance, the laughter and giggles that fill a room when the athletes and the child interact, and by the lifelong connection that endures.
I am so grateful to Friends of Jaclyn for bringing the Lams, Adkins, and now the Heckman’s onto my life and into the Temple Lacrosse family. Life is better when it is shared and FOJ has allowed me to share in the lives of some truly special people.
Student athletes live busy lives that often feel quite challenging. However, take one look at a student-athlete hanging out with their FOJ teammate and you will only see them living in the moment.
The energy, unity, strength, kindness, sense of humor, generosity of spirit, and sense of extended family, that sports teams can bring to a child and their family is magical.
However, Friends of Jaclyn does not just benefit the child. When student-athletes can focus their energy on helping a child and when student-athletes can see the strength, courage, and grace when these children face their adversities, their lives are enhanced. The life lessons and life skills gained by being an FOJ teammate are as valuable (and arguably more) as the degree they will earn.” Words of wisdom form a Friends of Jaclyn “GOAT” wearing OWL gear for a living.