Behind the Whistle: The Best Path is Your Path


This story initially appeared on Behind the Whistle, the official blog of the IWLCA, and is being republished with permission from the organization. Lyndsey Munoz is an assistant coach at George Mason University.

Like it did for many others, the pandemic instilled a regular habit of reflection in my life.

Now that I’ve completed the first week of practices in my first full-time coaching position, I find myself reflecting again and pondering what I could say to potentially help or create a new perspective for so many experienced coaches out there.

My path to this point has been long. While most coaches enter their first position at 22 or 23 years old, George Mason University hired me a week before my 29th birthday. Now, the world will make me feel like I should feel a certain way about that, as our lived and virtual experiences induce constant comparison. However, I refuse to entertain this.

Why? Glennon Doyle recently expressed on her podcast sentiments along the lines of what screws us up most is thinking about what we’re supposed to or should do in life. It doesn’t matter our age; this continually comes up — the job, kids, work-life balance, travel, etc. Everywhere you turn or scroll, you see it every day.

My journey has been long to get here because I fell into that line of thinking. I kept trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be and do, what I thought I should do based on ideas the world told me I should value. Now I’m thankful to be at a point in my life where I finally am doing what I want and know who I am, with much owed to people like Glennon, mentors in my life, friends and family who have encouraged me every step of the way.

To explain what my path and thought processes looked like through the years would leave you reading for hours. To keep it brief, the array of experiences included running programming for a lacrosse non-profit, working in public relations for a cybersecurity firm, earning certifications in strength and conditioning and nutrition, interning at performance training centers while also helping run a growing club program, volunteer coaching at Division I and III schools, running operations at lacrosse tournaments and running a business.

Although I didn’t know it at the time, all these experiences prepared me for the task at hand, exactly when I was supposed to be ready — at the age of 29. Not only that, it gives me gratitude every day to be where I am and to have the opportunity in front of me.

However, throughout that time it was hard, and the questions loomed if I was doing enough or the right things. I reminded myself of who I was, the person I wanted to be, and continued along the path to get here. Today, I think this is the best reminder I can share with you all, and it’s the same reminder that I hope to share with the student-athletes I coach. No one’s path is more or less valid or valuable than anyone else’s because the best path is YOUR path.

Stay the course and enjoy the ride!

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