Coach’s Corner: Why I’m a coach
Coworkers through the Aspen Skiing Co. find it amazing that I’ve only “taught” a few hours this season. It’s understandable if you think that’s my only job. We’re over halfway through the season, and I’ve not even clocked in a full workweek. They wonder how I do it financially.
What those coworkers don’t realize is that I am working full-time for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club during the winter. I coach at least five days a week, sometimes more. This seems to make sense to those initially baffled by what they see as my apparent lack of work. Beyond that, I still receive looks of confusion and awe from coworkers who are aware of the pay scale of fully certified instructors. Through Skico, we receive compensation based on experience and education, and at this point, I am well-compensated. What my coworkers and friends don’t understand is why I might be willing to take a slight pay cut to essentially work more hours.
Mind you, this is not some jab at teaching for Skico, but rather praise for having the honor to work with a consistent group of youth throughout critical phases of their lives.
So far this year I’ve only taught three lessons for Skico, and they were all amazing in their own right. The first was an opportunity to learn and grow by finding ways to communicate with two women from Japan, one of whom spoke no English. (For the record the only Japanese I know is basically “Domo arigato Mister Roboto,” and I don’t even know what that actually means.) I’m a person who loves languages and learning about other cultures, so I felt this was a great opportunity for myself while sharing my love of playing around in the snow.
The two other lessons I taught were to teenagers riding at a high level. To simplify things for you the reader, I got to tour the mountain and briefly discuss high-level maneuvers with some great kids. It almost couldn’t be beat!
That being the case, people still wonder why I’d sacrifice that for more work with less money. It’s simple: feeling fulfilled.
I know that my coworkers and myself create lasting memories for our guests on vacation, but the majority of the time, that’s what it is. Working with guests on vacation. Through AVSC I get to work with athletes for years, helping not only with snowboarding, but with life. I’ve had the pleasure of working with one athlete in particular since she was 6 years old. She’s on the verge of getting her driver’s license. Watching her grow, helping her with things such as snowboarding, schoolwork, friends and even boy problems has been a pleasure. Not only have I impacted her life, but she’s also influenced mine. Working with these kids for weeks, months and even years is an indescribable experience. It’s given me a better understanding of humans in general and helped me grow to appreciate those around me.
Some people think that I’m just a snowboard coach, but I know better than that. I help shape young people’s lives, individuals who will grow to become our country’s educators and leaders. One day, these children will be a part of what carries our nation successfully through the world and into the future — to help be a part of that is worth more to me than a few extra dollars on a paycheck.
Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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