By Shareeyah Thomas, Jay Cooke Elementary School, 2019-20 MSPP Participant

This article was written in May 2020 as part of the of the MSPP Stay At Home Tournament during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My name is Shareeyah Thomas. I am a 7th grader at Cooke Elementary School. I am not a great basketball player, but I have grown to love the sport. I have learned a lot about the game playing on the PYB team for my school. I’ve learned teamwork, good sportsmanship, basketball skills, work ethic, the importance of being in good shape, and so many life skills from the academic lessons we studied. From this great experience I think my perfect coach would have a lot of the skills and qualities of my PYB coaches, Coach Dhaamin and Coach Will, but she would be a female. A female with a tough mindset, but a kind heart. Along with her kind heart, she would be funny and would have my back.  She would be passionate and would push us to be our best.

Why a woman? No shade on Coach Dhaamin and Coach Will, they are the very best! On Saturday sessions when we play our games against the other schools, there are not enough female coaches for my taste. During our academic sessions we learned about the UConn women’s team and WNBA. I was so proud! Coach Dhaamin showed me some videos and I was like, “Wow! We all that!” I started singing that Beyonce song, “Who run the world? Girls! Girls! Girls!.” Then Coach Dhaamin and Coach Will told me about the PYB girls program HoopHers and I felt even better. We read another story about how Steph Curry supports his daughters. I feel like female coaches are so talented they can one day be a head coach in the NBA!  Yes we can do it!

My perfect coach would be tough but nice, someone you can talk to but not a pushover.  A perfect female coach would be someone with a sense of humor, someone who can make us laugh but not always serious. That perfect coach won’t have to yell all the time and can motivate us without being mean. A female, kind of young, who can relate to us. Even when we lose or mess up she is not putting us down and acting all mad but finding a way to lift up our spirits. 

“The perfect coach for me is someone who I will always remember, someone I will talk about even when I grow older and have children.  Someone who will have a forever impact on my life – a true mentor.”


My perfect coach is someone who we can come to about our issues whether it be problems with our parents, or other personal issues. To me a coach is a mentor, a friend, someone we can trust, someone who will have our backs no matter what. A perfect coach would be a good listener, not someone to judge us without hearing our side. Someone that cares about her team, not just all about basketball. That even when basketball season is over a perfect coach is gonna check on us to see how we are doing, and show they really care. Coach Dhaamin and Coach Will yell, but there is no doubt they care about us. Everyone on the team knows they have real love for us.  That’s what I would desire in my perfect coach. I want the whole team to experience her passion on and off the court. That’s the kind of passion and caring I want from a coach. 

A perfect coach is going to find a way, with all our different personalities, to bring the best out of us no matter what. The perfect coach for me is someone who I will always remember, someone I will talk about even when I grow older and have children.  Someone who will have a forever impact on my life – a true mentor. That perfect coach is supposed to have that kind of impact. She is the kind of person that no matter what you go through in your life, you can always remember the wisdom she gave you, and the tough times she helped get you through.

That to me is the perfect coach. Again, not a pushover, but kind, funny, compassionate, and tough. She will always be there, from now until eternity. Whether it’s a phone call or FaceTime, a text, an email, or even a surprise visit. She is someone that will never fade away. She is someone that gives us life lessons we can always use. Coach Dhaamin and Coach Will have a lot of these characteristics, but I just sometimes wish I could have a female version of them. Those two plus some “female power” would be perfect! They are forever my dogs and they have shown me they have my back. I know I can go to both of them about anything, but having a female coach with their qualities in my eyes would be just perfect!



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