Blue Hawk of the Week: Coach Tufts (a.k.a. Tuftsy).
What are some lessons that you’ve learned in your years of coaching?
“I’ve learned a lot of patience. I see a young coach now and I see them worrying about everything, and so I’ve learned to not worry as much about the little things and worry more about the big things […] I’ve learned to be a lot more patient. Before, if it wasn’t a good practice or it wasn’t a good warm up—if something just wasn’t right—I used to worry about it and I’ve learned that kids overcome those things […] those little things don’t mean that much. I’ve learned to see the forest from the trees a little bit, and I think I’ve learned a lot about how athletics fit into the big picture. You learn a lot of things in the classroom. The soccer field, the hockey rink, the football field for Coach Ball, the basketball court for Coach Holmes—those are classrooms. You guys learn things and then carry over, and I think I’m a lot better at seeing you guys as individuals and seeing how sports fit into your whole life, as part of your high school experience, and I think I’m better at that.”
What keeps you coming back [to coach every year]?
“The guys. It’s fun. Every year they’re a little bit like a puzzle, […] their personality and the ability level of that group of kids, how we’re gonna be able to put the pieces together and be competitive. The challenge of trying to help kids learn skills… how they could be more competitive and have more success in games and it gets exciting.”
Be a nice person, be accountable and responsible…
What lessons do you teach your athletes on and off the field?
“Be a nice person, be accountable and responsible: when you’re playing gotta handle a ball or handle a puck you gotta be responsible you gotta be accountable to the other guys. Playing soccer and hockey is fun, but hopefully it carries over to your academic work and citizenship around school—all those other things that are important too.”
What is the most memorable game you’ve ever been apart of?
“That’s a hard one because there are so many great ones. I was talking to someone the other day and I said you remember groups of kids in games and they became such good friends. So when I think of a game, I don’t necessarily think of just that game […] I think of the group of kids that played in that game. Like last year with you guys [2015-2016 boy’s hockey] in the semis… that game up in Concord. You think of that group and all you guys together, and I think of a couple of soccer teams that have run the table pretty well. But I think of them in groups, the personality of that group of kids, so that’s not a fair question. There’s too many great games that kids work so hard and have such great success.”
How do you feel about the soccer team this year?
“We’re gonna have a good run, we’re not there yet. I think each day and every game has been a good building block. […] Since we lost at Hanover, I think they’ve had a lot more of concentration and a lot more resolve because they weren’t happy with that effort, but I don’t think we’re where we’re going to get to. [Like] your hockey team last year—you play the regular season to get to where you want to be in the playoffs, and I think we’ve made a lot of progress in the preseason and the first four games, but this team has a lot of potential. If they put in the work, if they learn to trust each other, and they aren’t being selfish or anything they’re going to make a run at it.”