Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Voice

Each fall we start watching "The Voice." In fact this past year we came to realize that we have been enjoying the show for a total of eleven seasons. It it a weekly ritual for Paola and myself to watch the episodes the day after the televised version on the internet from the comfort of our home on Denman Island.

Why do I love watching "The Voice?"

In fact, we do not have TV and have not had TV for years. This may be the only show we watch in the house, excluding our Netflix habit which is a story for another day.

I love watching "The Voice"because it is a show about coaching. The series begins with "Blind Auditions" in which the contestants sing on an open stage to convince one of the four internationally renowned singers to turn a chair and entertain the opportunity to become their mentor/coach.

From the very moment these blind auditions start you can sense and feel the amazement of the amateur singers when a chair is turned and they are recognized for their talent. It is such an inspiring moment to see a chair turn, the hear the coaches plea for their acceptance and build their respective team.

Sound familiar?

Each year we process through the VIPL Riptide U14-U18 Youth Soccer Trials in which more than 160+ players will seek selection for a place on one of our eight teams in the franchise. The "Blind Audition" for the players starts with a series of training sessions in which they hope to draw the attention of one of the coaches selecting the respective team. Once they have been selected and accept the invitation to play the mentoring process begins.

Perhaps this is why "The Voice" means so much - the mentoring process.

I am brought to tears on a regular basis as the show progresses and the number of singers is slowly reduced. Today, there are four singers left from forty. The simple fact that as the season winds on each year, the coaches spend more time with the singers, which in turn deepens their respective relationship with one another.

Relationships are a huge part of any successful coach.

There have been so many healthy and positive relationships for me in the game of soccer through the years. First as a player. Second as a Coach. Third as a Technical Director.

As a player, some of my first memories in the game comes from playing with the Lansdowne Evening Optimists (1974 Victoria) coached by John Rudball (to this day, John makes an effort to stop by and say hello each summer when he and his wife visit Denman Island). The team wore royal blue polyester jerseys with two yellow stripes down one side of the jersey. Matching polyester royal blue shorts and socks (also with two yellow stripes which circled the top of each sock when folded over). My first goalkeeper jersey was yellow polyester. My first pair of goalkeeper gloves were a soft cotton mix with green rubberized material for grip (the same material found on ping pong paddles). My first pair of boots were more plastic than leather. My teen years were spent playing for the Gorge Magpies (coaches Dunc McCaig and Ron McClure). This is where I would meet friends who I still see to this very day. In fact, we played school soccer together and grew up both on and off the field.

Interestingly, when I think of my youth soccer coaches there is warmth, encouragement, positivity and motivation coming from all angles. Each of these people would not only support us on the field, they would remain a strong part of all of our lives through the years off the field - and that is what coaching is about! Sure, there are defining moments which are performance based, but I learned early on in life the definitive role of "the Coach" is the lasting impact you can have on people's lives.

Hence my love for The Voice. I sit hear writing this listening to the final four sing for the opportunity to win the season and receive a recording contract. I also enjoy the stories between the coaches and their singers, how they enjoy being able to help their students improve and learn about themselves. These internationally acclaimed artists take time out of their own lives to help the next generation of singers to become famous.

Sound familiar?

There have been so many positive mentors in my life through the years. Grant Darley. Gord Reading. John Baretta. Jerry Knuttsen. I have also had the priviledge to mentor hundreds of athletes and help to develop some very special coaches. Raegyn Hall. Big Daddy Denman. Sian Bagshae. Geoff Hackett. 

There have been a select few athletes who I was able to mentor and develop deep and meaningful relationships with. Taryn Swiatek. Erin McLeod. Nicole Wright. Stephanie Labbe. Erin McNulty. Stacey VanBoxmeer. All of which I was lucky enough to invest time working with as a part ofthe Canadian Women's National Team Program.

Then there are my peers. Lewis Page. Bryan Rosenfeld. Stuart Neely. Ian Bridge. Even Pellerud. Ken Garraway.

Each and every one of these people have made a positive impact on my life and will always contribute to the person I have become.

As this episode wears down, I am finding satisfaction in knowing full well that only one person will be crowned the "winner of season eleven!"

Importantly, each of these final four candidates has grown and developed under the influence of their respective coach and accomplished more than enough on their individual journey to be considered a winner! The coaches push and pull the singers to make themselves more and more unique, pushing themselves to remain strong, confident and determined as they perform each and every week- knowing full well the audience selects who moves on each week in the competition.

Hard work is what is all about as a performer. As an athlete. I have always drawn reference to my travels all over the world as a player, coach or technician to that of a musical performer. Both are welcomed by one and all with open arms. One for the songs they may sing or play. Another for the simple fact that the game of soccer is global- it is appreciated by one and all the entire world over.

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