For the Love of Coaching #1: The Ropes Course

Colin Fredericks joined the Hyde faculty two years ago coming from Northfield Mount Herman.  He provides the first in one of my series on “For The Love of Coaching.”

My favorite part of my job here at Hyde is being in charge of the Ropes course. Let me give you a snapshot of why.

Jasmine Staley wears a waist harness and helmet. She’s connected to a rope strong enough to hoist a Buick, and she looks cool, calm, and collected. At the other end of that rope, 25 feet in the air, is Jasmine’s mother Rhonda, dressed likewise. Her face is a model for determination. As Jasmine gently lowers her mother down, she “locks off” the belay device, leaving Rhonda briefly dangling in midair, and asks a question: “NOW can I borrow the car?” Both of them laugh.

The Hyde ropes team is one of our more unusual teams. Our athletes often come from another team’s disabled list. Ropes students learn more than how to belay, ascend, rappel, and tie knots. They learn trust, diligence, and patience. They learn how to calmly talk others through frightening situations, or push their friends to succeed. Family Weekend is our “big game.” When I see parents go up on the ropes course, intentionally place their lives in the hands of their children, take that first step onto the tightrope, and overcome their fears, I can’t help but smile from ear to ear.

And I suspect that now, six months later, Jasmine can finally borrow the car.