‘It's all about the kids, it has to be for them'
By Lyle Carter
People from all walks of life and with noticeable community spirit often step up to coach school teams.
Soccer coaches Patti McKenzie and Steve Lindsay are two of them.
"The South Colchester Academy Wolves junior boys' team was in need of a coach," said McKenzie, of her involvement. "Dwight Griffiths was interested in coaching, but because he was under 21, the school required an adult liaison. Either I coached or there was no team."
McKenzie, 46, didn't need any additional arm-twisting and immediately came aboard as co-coach.
"Tryouts began the first week in September," said the Parsboro native who now lives in West St. Andrews. "Dwight, who I had known from previous soccer, was great to work with and we became focused on putting together a competitive soccer team."
And competitive they were as through eight regular season games the junior Wolves ran up a 7-1 record to finish regular season play in first place.
"We lost a great game of soccer this past week 3-2 to a worthy opponent, the Central Colchester Bears," McKenzie said. "The Bears won the district title and the right to host the regional championship."
McKenzie remains very proud of her players.
"I sent each one an email following the game," she said. "I told them that if they were going to lose a game, that was the one to lose. We still get to go to regionals in Onslow where we'll have a chance to redeem ourselves."
South Colchester did just that, with a 3-2 win over Central Colchester on Thursday
McKenzie, who formerly coached house league soccer in Stewiacke, said the past two months has been an outstanding experience.
"It's been wonderful to work with this group of boys. It has been rewarding to see how they bonded and came together as a team. Dwight and I could never have anticipated the heart and desire this team would display.
"The tremendous leadership of our three captains Brandon Ross, Trent Lynds and Jordan McKenzie (Patti's son) stand out to me. Trent scored 21 goals in only 10 games which was something else. He is a tremendous all-around athlete. His drive will take him wherever he wants to go."
McKenzie, an administrative assistant with the District Health Authority in Truro, said volunteering also provided other positives.
"It would have been easy to sit on the sidelines and cheer this season," McKenzie said. "But it was Dwight and my turn to step up and give back. For me, coaching soccer has absolutely proven to be the way to help local kids."
Lindsay, the medical trainer of the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club for the past 14 years, also has a passion for soccer.
"I played two years with Hants East Rural High," said Lindsay, a Stewiacke East native who now lives in Truro Heights. "I've been coaching for the past 10 or 12 years."
The fourth-year coach of the district champion Bears enjoys seeing the kids develop their skills.
"When the opportunity came up to coach at Onslow, I accepted," Lindsay said. "I enjoy coaching, it's really satisfying seeing these players come along from being young kids to progress and move up to play junior and senior soccer."
Lindsay said there are many, many examples of rewards a coach receives.
"Parker Gilby is a real good kid but he didn't make our Bears team last season," Lindsay said. "After he was cut, he told me he was going to work hard and that he would be back this year and I wouldn't be able to cut him. Parker kept his word, he gave it his all and he rightfully earned a spot on this year's team."
Lindsay is already looking ahead to coaching next season.
"Soccer is a great sport," he said. "I'm looking forward to continuing coaching. It's all about the kids, it has to be for them."
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.