Editor's Note: Perham Activities Director Erin Anderson wrote and shared this letter with Perham coaches, advisors, parents and students.

I read an article from the Positive Coaching Alliance that struck me and is referenced in some of my following thoughts.

It is certainly a time of unrest and unknown for all of us! As we deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic, with school closures, businesses closing or changing their mode of operation, and all of us being asked to do our part through social distancing or quarantine, we face a number of challenges and opportunities at the same time.

Perham Activities Director Erin Anderson
Perham Activities Director Erin Anderson

In our Yellowjacket Activities/Athletics world recently, it’s been difficult to navigate all the cancellations and postponements. It’s hard to wonder about whether or not we will have a tournament game, or even a State Tournament at all. We’ve been told to limit crowds only to see events cancelled. We wonder aloud if we will even have our spring activities season. It’s been hard for our students, especially seniors, who have had seasons abruptly end, practices suspended, and competitions cancelled. It’s been frustrating for coaches and advisors to watch their students have to deal with disappointment, dashed dreams, and the unknown. We’ve seemingly had plans and preparations change almost hourly in the last week!

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But I want to encourage you in a difficult, unprecedented, and historical time.

I have found myself thankful in all of this, knowing that we have tremendous coaches and advisors. You all do so well at seeing the big picture and understanding perspective. As ironic as it sounds in this suspended time, this is where students may need your coaching and connection more than ever. This is where we focus on our true purpose, not wins and losses, or how we finish in a competition. We are reminded about the relationships, the lessons, and the character qualities that you teach each day to our young men and women. This is our chance to encourage and use some of those best life lessons like: Supporting one another; Leaning on each other as teammates; Being servant-leaders in our community; and Facing adversity together in order to overcome challenges and to achieve goals.

I am also thankful for our students. These are young men and women who make us all proud in so many different ways! Students, this is a time to do what you do best... face your new “opponent” in front of you (COVID-19), and take on the adversity and challenge! Use your skills and gifts and the things your coaches have taught you like being resilient, controlling what you can control, performing well, and knowing your role.

We are all being called to a different kind of competition of sorts right now. It’s a “bigger-picture” competition. We are being asked to perform a difficult, civic responsibility for our own health and the health of our neighbors in our community and world, and to live up to that challenge of isolating for a bit. This is an important and serious task. We’ve been prepared for this. Our coaches and advisors have taught us well about resiliency, challenges, planning, hard work, overcoming obstacles, and achieving success.

It’s an interesting and difficult time. It’s still a time to coach and be coached. We can do this!

Go Jackets!

EA