When I accepted a coaching position at the local high school back in January, I had no idea I would have been as deeply touched by a group of 20 girls as I am today in May as our season comes to a close. At first, I was apprehensive about working with high schoolers…I had no idea what to expect, I was used to working with 8 year olds in my 3rd grade classroom. As the season progressed, I began to feel a sense of purpose as I became more and more invested in the team. I had that feeling of “this is right where God wants me to be.”
For our senior night game I wanted to give the girls something special that would show them that I deeply cared about each of them. I had been brainstorming ideas for a week or two but just couldn’t think of anything….I was cleaning out a purse from last spring when I came across a little red bag filled with the pewter hearts. I was so excited! How had I not thought of this before? Giving each of the seniors a little heart to take with them in their next chapter of life was perfect. I immediately thought, shoot…there is no way I have enough for everyone. I dumped them out into my hand; there were exactly 9 hearts for the 9 seniors on the team. Now I felt CONFIDENT this is what I should give the girls. Even though this was a planned spreading of hearts, I didn’t feel any less vulnerable. I wanted to make sure the girls understood how meaningful how these little hearts were…so here was a note I had written on the board of our locker room:
“My best friend and roommate from college started a non-profit organization in Chicago with her mom called “Spreading Hearts.” The intention of the organization is to simply brighten others’ days by giving a small pewter heart when you see love and kindness in the world. So tonight I have a little heart to share with each of you to say thank you for brightening my days and for being such a great group of young women. You all have helped reignite my love of the game. I admire your leadership, passion, and attitude. I look forward to hearing about all of the wonderful things you accomplish in the future. Best of luck to you all as you begin your next chapter!”
Underneath this note to the group, each senior had a little card with their heart inside. I wrote a specific reason each senior was receiving their heart from me…a couple examples include:
-for spreading a positive energy to those around you..
-for being brave and selfless when you shaved your head for cancer..
-for just being your goofy self and making me laugh every day at practice…
As the girls came into the locker room and read the note and read their cards, their faces told me they got it; they understood how much I cared. This small little heart touched each one of theirs. Some eyes filled up with tears as they hugged me and genuinely thanked me. It makes me smile to think about where these hearts are going to travel as this group of young women graduate from high school and begin their next chapter.