Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

There are many people in this world wh I respect. Teachers, classmates, siblings, my parents, the list is extensive, yes, but not endless. I believe respect is something that is earned, something you gain through being reliable for a long period of time, something you gain through the consistency of traits, such as perseverance, loyalty, integrity and courage. These are traits we are all familiar with here in the Independence School District.

Lindsay Thompson is someone who has gained my utmost respect. Not only has she helped me develop as a basketball player, but she has also helped me grow as a person. Coach Thompson has pushed me over the threshold between being a teenage girl and becoming the young woman she knows I can be. She is someone who exhibits above and beyond the traits I believe that someone must have to earn respect, and I do not respect anyone more in this world than I do Lindsay Thompson.

Loyalty is a very important trait to possess. When someone is loyal she sticks by her group, her family, her team. Her support does not waver even in times of difficulty. Never has a day gone by that Coach Thompson has not been loyal to us. There is not a doubt in my mind that tells me this woman wouldn’t go to the ends of the Earth for her players, students, fellow teachers and family. There have been days when we have become her family. There have been days when she has had to choose between her family and us, and she chose us. If that is not the type of person you want coaching, teaching and influencing students and athletes, then I don’t know what is.

I am a sophomore at William Chrisman High School. I have now played basketball under Coach Thompson for two years, and while not always easy, I don’t know where I would be without those two years. During the summer of 2012, I was having a difficult time dealing with many things happening in my life. I was going to quit basketball, among many other things I was involved in that summer, but during our basketball camp Coach Thompson asked me to travel with the JV and varsity teams to a team camp at Kansas State University. That gesture meant more to me than mere words could describe. Coach Thompson believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself, and because of that she has earned my respect and my loyalty indefinitely.

The only real question I wish to bring forward is, why? Why take Coach Thompson away from us? She is exactly the type of person you want influencing students. She is kind, caring, loyal, and she is someone who has weathered hard times and come out of those times successful and confident. I think that is exactly the influence and message you want to be exhibiting to students and athletes. Something that she always tells us is, “Tough times don’t last, but tough teams do.” Coach Thompson is a walking example of this.

Why wouldn’t you want this kind of an influence shaping your students? Coach Thompson has helped shape Chrisman into the great place it has become. Eight years ago, girls didn’t wear letter jackets. Eight years ago, athletes were only “athletes” during practices and games. Now, she has the girls’ basketball team refereeing and score-keeping Special Olympics basketball tournaments. Now, athletes strive to earn their own respect, a respect that wasn’t there before. Now I must ask, where’s your respect?