A Message from Coach

I wanted to send a note to you and Ryley letting you know I’ve been following along with Ryley’s journey these last few weeks and sending my prayers for a strong and speedy recovery. I can’t imagine what it has been like to go through this, but I can’t think of many people who I would have more confidence in than Ryley to fight until he wins this thing. If I had to pick one adjective to describe Ryley, I would say “coachable.” That may seem like an obvious choice for a former coach, and maybe it doesn’t reflect immediately the biggest strengths Ryley has, but as a coach it really is some of the highest praise I can give. Ryley is coachable because he is respectful, open to criticism, ready for a challenge, determined, and able to laugh at himself. Ryley was always willing to listen to us correcting technique or repeating the same cues about proper passing form, and put it into action over and over until he saw improvement. And oh did he improve. Volleyball is not an easy sport to learn after you have been playing other sports into high school – the movements and techniques are just different enough that you want to fall back into your layup footwork, or your baseball throw, but then your coach will yell at you and tell you to jump off two feet instead of one or to correct your swing just slightly. The point is, Ryley always listened to what we told him and he took any frustration he may have had and turned it into determination. As a coach, I would take Ryley for any team in any sport any day because he has the right attitude and the determination to succeed. For that same reason, I know he is going to overcome this injury and work harder than anyone through the therapy and rehab process. He will be coached along the way, and I know that he will surprise those coaches just like he surprised me.

I’m glad that Ryley joined Triangle because it gave me a chance to get to know him and the rest of the Hopper family. He would have still been the same great kid if he chose to play another sport or join another club that year, but I know that Ryley had an impact on me as a coach and as a person, and I am grateful for that. And to the whole Hopper family, I was always impressed by the love, sense of humor, and kindness that you all shared with each other and with everyone else on our team. I won’t forget that either.

Thank you, and all of my best,

Phil Hanson