John Lowe is the wrestling coach at Winters Mill High School. He has coached at both Salisbury University and McDaniel College. He also has experience at other high schools, including St. Michaels and Oakland Mills. In addition, he was a coach for the Maryland National Wrestling team for five years. This year, Lowe led his team to a regional title, followed by the state championship title.
Patch: Why do you coach?
John Lowe: I coach because as an athlete, I learned incredible lessons that are applicable to life: how to work towards goals, how to be physically and mentally tough, how to endure difficult times, how to be part of a team, how to be patient, and the importance of humility. I want to impart those qualities to future generations. Over the years I've had some good coaches and some bad coaches, and I'd like to be part of a young person's good experience with athletics.
Patch: What do you wish to impart to your athletes?
Lowe: There are certain qualities of a good person—being a good citizen, parent, business owner, teacher, etc.— that can be developed in sports. I want my kids to realize that wins and losses come and go, but things like work ethic, loyalty, humility, sacrifice, having a sense of humor, tenacity and rising above challenges are qualities that last forever. They're more important. As for what the kids get out of me, I hope they see that these things are not just catchphrases—they need to be modeled in real, live situations, not just talked about.
Patch: What are the best and worst parts of coaching?
Lowe: The best, and I think this is true of every coach, is seeing a young person set goals, work towards them, and grow right before your eyes. I get as excited about the kid who works really hard to make the varsity lineup as I do for the one who wins a state championship. Every kid, every goal, is different. Seeing them work to get there is worth it all.
The worst, for me, is running across individuals who don't necessarily share the aforementioned philosophies. They make winning and losing more important than the qualities mentioned above. There's nothing wrong with wanting to win, and working to win; there is something wrong with doing it at any cost. I see parents and coaches who lose that perspective, and the lessons that their kids learn is that this win is more important than self-respect, or honor, or courtesy. That kind of shortcut can make for unreasonable people, and kids who see this and end up like their parents. For me, that's a tragedy.