• The Best Thing About CAC

    November 7th 2017. CAC Self-Directed Learning Coach and Social Media Strategist Ashlyn Hardie blogged from Delhi, India where we worked with The Football Link and Foot & Boot

    If you are a regular follower of Coaches Across Continents then you have probably seen our “Best Thing” photos. That’s my job. My job is to ask our partners, and participants – “What do you think the best thing about CAC is?”, and “What did you learn most from this experience?”. Then I share that information with everyone who supports us through our Social Media and Marketing platforms. I spend time every week reading what other people think is the best thing about CAC. But not until this week, not until right now, as I sit down on my flight to leave Delhi and make my way towards Kathmandu did I realize what THE best thing about CAC is to me. And so, in this blog I want to answer my own questions. Most importantly, I want to share the story about the people who made me realize why.

    What is the best thing about CAC? What did I learn from this experience?

    It doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are in the world, how much money you have, what caste you’re from, what power you have, what influence society thinks that you should have – YOU can make the most incredible impact, with everything OR absolutely nothing on your side. This week I had the privilege of working with Praveen, the Founder of Foot & Boot through our amazing partner The Football Link. They have no money, little resources, and hardly have a ground to play on – and none of that really matters. He and his coworkers brought with them 9 of their youth players, who aspire to be future coaches, to attend the training. Those 9 players were some of the sharpest and wisest young minds I have ever had the privilege of getting to know.

    I asked these kids, “What is your favorite thing about your coach”? Many of the young girls said “He tells me I can be just as good as the boys” and “He tells me to believe in myself and my abilities”. One young boy said “He treats me with respect, and teaches me to treat other people with respect”. Not one of these things has anything to do with football or the material things he gives them. They don’t care that Praveen taught them to kick, run, and play good football. What they care about is that he is teaching them to be good people, to believe in themselves, and that he shows his belief in them as people and as players as well.

    There was a moment where I saw Praveen walking alone with his head down deep in thought. When I asked him what was wrong, he referred to a game. He spoke of a game where the players were asked to “run like a boy” and “run like a girl”.  He was heartbroken and disappointed in himself that his young girls were laughing and giggling and making fun of themselves, young women, and how they run. He felt as if he failed as a coach because they don’t realize that means that people have doubts about their ability and that they are making fun of them.

    To be a good coach, to be a good leader, to be a good person – we do not need money or things. He and his team will, as they already have, change the lives of every child they work with. Praveen has given them so much more than talent, a ball, or a jersey. He has given them courage, respect, hope, and other virtues. The young minds are not just strong, proud, independent and wise – they have the hearts of leaders.

    So “What is the best thing about CAC?” – To me the best thing about CAC is that I get to meet some of the worlds most inspirational people. People that surprise me with how smart, clever, and resourceful they are in their environments. These people have the biggest hearts, incredible wisdom, and prove to be relentless in their work bettering the world they live in. The best thing about my job is that I am always learning, always feeling inspired, always seeing something new, and above all – the Goosebumps moments. These are the moments where something happens and everything in your being is so moved by the moment that you’ve had, with the incredible people that you’re surrounded by.

    And, “What have I learned?”. What I have learned, is something that I have already believed, but in this moment, where these kids were doing coach backs like seasoned professionals I realized – Sport for Social Impact freaking works. It freaking works, and it works because of the incredible people backing it. Sport for Social Impact is not something that will save the world. BUT, the coaches and teachers who are involved in the movement – those people will. They will save the world. If not the whole world, at least a piece of their own, and the youth that follow them. That is something that I was , am, and always will be so truly moved to be a part of.

    P.S. On an unrelated note, Charlie and I had a pet mouse in our guesthouse. He came through my bathroom window and lived in our kitchen for the week – After a long stressful process of trying to scare him out of my room! The guilt of terrifying this cute little mouse made me want to feed and name him, which Charlie explained was one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had. Another thing I love about this job – the most unique experiences in which from each and everyone I grow as a person and discover something new about myself.

1 Comment

  1. Betty Phiri says: November 9, 2017 at 4:37 amReply

    Wow! This story is inspiring and very encouraging. Reading about what Ashlyn experienced in Delhi, India takes me back to the time we spent together. She sees potential in what people have passion for and and what they do. She encourages at all times, never discouraging not one bit.

    Thank you Ashlyn, Thank you CAC.