Each year that I address the team I get a little nervous, I start thinking that they don't care and will not learn anything about life or about diabetes. This week at basketball tryouts I was shocked at how many of the athletes came up to me and asked how I was doing diabetes wise. One comment stuck out "Coach I saw you over there having a juice box and a granola bar, are you ok, do you need anything?" I had the biggest smile on my face and said "That means a lot to me, I'm a little low but what I just ate and drank will take care of it" This is not a student that talks a lot, for him to ask me if I was ok was amazing. They care, as a coach and as a person that tells me that they will be ok.
Thanks to Leanne I have been sharing my story with the local middle school students for the past four years. I share my story and hope that they listen and that it helps them in someway, this week a handful of athletes asked me, "Coach Noonan, you're a big cyclist right? Do you still race? How is your diabetes?" Again I was taken back, I understand the cyclist question, I use the cycling as one of the selling points of my story, how it has allowed me to see New England in a way that I would never have seen it if it weren't for diabetes and the bike. But to ask about my diabetes makes me think that I got through to them in someway.
We don't give high school kids enough credit for who they are, we criticize them and say all they do is play games on their phones and text each other. This week I was pleasantly surprised and have a lot more respect for the teenager living in todays world. They do listen and are looking for role models, we need to take the time and help them. You will be amazed at what they can do as people.