For anyone who has played sports growing up we all had that one coach that has left a lasting impression on us. Whether that was the coach that didn’t give up on us when we weren’t at our best, took us under their wing when they saw potential in us or knew exactly what to say at a particular moment to shift the momentum of a practice or a game.
Rick Boksteyn encapsulated all these traits and so much more in his tenure coaching football over the course of his life. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the McCoy Colts Sr. Football team from Grade 10-12 (Spring 2011- Fall 2013).
In my time there, I played Wide Receiver and Coach Boksteyn primarily coached up the linemen. However, this didn’t lessen the impact he made on me and hundreds of other players that have gone through the McCoy system.
As my friend and former teammate Bryce put it, Coach Boksteyn was the coach that the senior players would tell the junior players about when they asked about playing at the next level. His presence and knowledge of the game were known and you immediately respected what he had to say when he addressed the team, whether it was in a practice or a game.
He pulled no punches when he saw you doing something he didn’t like but you knew it came from a place of him wanting to see you reach your full potential because he cared.
And for all the stories and tales that have been passed down about Coach Boksteyn from countless players and fellow coaches, I will remember him as being the coach that truly cared about his players and loved the game of football.
However, this love for football was not displayed with words alone, Coach Boksteyn would use his vacation time from his career as a Captain for the Medicine Hat Fire Department to put towards his role as a volunteer coach for the McCoy Colts football team. To me, that’s the foundation of any grassroots program, coaches that put the team and love of game before themselves.
I wish I had the opportunity to speak with Coach Boksteyn and hear more of his stories and thoughts on where football was when he started to where it was when he left us. But I take solace in the fact that his legacy and stories will live on in the hearts and minds of the hundreds if not thousands of coaches, players, parents and community members he’s influenced and inspired over the course of his life. We can continue carrying out his work by instilling that same passion and love he had for football into our lives every day.
Rest in Peace Coach Boksteyn, you are forever in our hearts.