By Lilybeth Hernandez
Before coaching varsity football with the boys,staff member Steve Papin,can be seen the entire school year,patrolling Independence High school’s campus grounds ensuring students are in a safe and supportive learning environment.
Coach Papin has been a member of our school for 3 years and a coach for 5 years.
“Watching these kids come in as freshman and see how much they mature and grow as they leave as seniors is the best experience feeling for me as a staff member. I’ve learned to deal with different personalities and different backgrounds my years here.”
When he’s not fostering trusting relationships with students and improving school climate during the school day, he’s seen forming the same bonds with his varsity boys during team practices.
“I’ve learned in football that each individual has their own kind of personality and way of learning/training,and the way to connect with them is being able to realize that first.”
But what makes up his daily life of coaching and being a supportive system for a boy’s varsity football team, Coach Papin did what most would believe to be unexpected: become a girl’s softball coach. Coach Papin started coaching junior varsity softball in the spring of 2018 at Independence High when the team was left with no coach.
The season was starting in a couple of weeks,and although the team was motivated and eager to play,they were missing the main base: a coach. The team was practicing after school by themselves,which was going to waste if they did not get a coach as soon as possible.
“I actually suggested to be a coach to the sport director, Anne Finney, after the past coach was let go.”
The shift from football to softball was a whole new environment to get used to and a whole new sport with different mechanics and skills to be able to teach,but sure enough Coach Papin from football,soon became Coach Papin from softball too.
“I was excited to get a chance to learn something new from teaching girl’s rather than boys. It’s a different feeling coaching boys and girls because each are different in the way they train and how they show their emotions.”
It can be difficult to work both as a school staff member and as a coach for two polarizing teams, but Papin clearly enjoys his work as a whole.
“It does get a little stressful some days but it’s relieving when you take a step back and learn at the end of the day, you’re helping out the youth.”
Papin is now set to coach his 5th year of football this season and his second year of softball early next spring at Independence High School.
“I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon for the time being. Independence is my second home, and I love being a part of this Independence community.”