Goodbyes brought unexpected one-two punch from dance coaches PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 09:02

I am going to be honest, saying goodbye stinks, but sometimes it’s the hand this life deals us.

Some of those goodbyes are longer term goodbyes like the loss of a friend or a loved one. But even those temporary goodbyes, you know the “Until we see each other again” goodbyes, they hurt, too.

In my profession, the latter kind of goodbye happens all to often.

Most of the time, when you least expect them! I experienced two of them at a recent East Washington School Board meeting.

The Superintendent and the school board invited members of the high school and middle school dance teams to the meeting to be recognized.

Both squads placed in the top three in the state competition back in March and had strong showings throughout the season.

My daughter is a sophomore member of the team and I took the opportunity to address the board and tout our coaches. I told them, our daughters have not only grown as dancers, but also as young ladies. They are good citizens, good students and a lot of credit for that goes to their parents of course, but also their coaches.

“You should be proud to have them on the staff here at our school,” I said.

Just moments later, as we exited the building, I found out that our middle school coach Shelby Nunley was leaving her post at middle school dance coach.

Emily’s middle school days are in the rear-view mirror, but it was comforting to know the dancers in Shelby’s care every year would be coached, disciplined and most important – loved. It broke my heart.

Then moments later, after a meeting with the high school team, my daughter holding back tears told me we could leave. Once in the car, the flood gates opened and she told me our coach Ericka Campbell was leaving.

My heart broke for my daughter, her teammates and in the short-term our dance programs.

Now, I know the powers-that-be at East Washington are going to hire new coaches to take over the school’s dance programs, and they will continue the excellence that has been established.

Knowing that, however, still doesn’t make goodbyes any easier.

So I wanted to use this space to personally thank these two ladies for mentoring, teaching and guiding Emily for the past five years. They are two of the biggest reasons she fell in love with dance.

You see, I think in middle and high school, that’s part of a coach’s job – to help kids love what they are doing.

A basketball coach has to let those boys and girls know that only a handful of students in the entire school will ever know what it feels like to run out of that locker room on a Friday or Saturday night with the fans standing and the fight song playing.

Not many boys in the school love football enough to put in the work for an entire year to buckle up the helmet on Friday night and step on the field under the lights.

Some kids naturally love the sports, but some kids fall in love with it in part because their coach is so passionate about it.

In my opinion, that’s what helped Shelby and Ericka stand out as coaches – it was never work to them (or at least they didn’t make it look like work) and besides a month off after state, they never took any time off.

As we drove home this daddy’s heart hurt because my youngest daughter was sad, but I also know I won’t be seeing two people I’ve grown to care a lot about as much anymore.

It was time to say goodbye, I am thankful they were the “Until we see each other again” goodbyes, but they still aren’t easy.

Good luck Shelby and Ericka!

Jesus says in Matthew 25:23, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

You ladies have been faithful with our dance programs and I know because of that, you will be blessed with being in charge of many things.

Is there a coach, co-worker or friend you had a hard time saying goodbye to? Let me know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it