[OPINION] Filled With Gratitude

A Westport woman who requests anonymity writes:

As I ran today past Longshore and Compo Beach, I was filled with gratitude. Not just for our town’s stunning beauty and incredible wealth of resources, but for the optimistically scrappy people who make a transformational difference one person at a time.

Staples High School coach Matty Jacowleff inspires the kind of compassionate trust that made our eldest son feel comfortable reaching out this winter when he was struggling to find academic motivation.

It was off season. But Coach Matty reached back immediately, normalized the anxiety, and with his signature contagious enthusiasm set up an accountability partnership where they’d check in with each other daily. Who does this? Coach Matty does.

Several years ago, our youngest son struggled with lacrosse. His skills were not up to those of his peers. He had trouble focusing, didn’t really get game IQ and felt poorly about himself. He decided lacrosse was not his sport.

Westport PAL Lacrosse board member Dan Clark told him he thought he should stick with it. He put him on his team – a team built around love of sport and camaraderie.

Dan champions the underdogs. He makes sure they aren’t overlooked. Three years later, our son is thriving. He has learned resilience without sacrificing self-worth. Working hard and having fun are not mutually exclusive, and compassion trumps winning hands down.

These are just 2 of the countless people who quietly make a ginormous difference in our children’s lives. They do it because it is what they believe – who they are. Lucky us.

Thank you,
One of the many grateful moms in our incredible town

9 responses to “[OPINION] Filled With Gratitude

  1. Danielle Dobin

    This is such a lovely post. We had exactly the same experience with Dan Clark. He is so kind and supportive, especially of the underdogs out there.

  2. Jessica Bram

    🥲 Thank you.

  3. Jane Schaefer Johngren, Staples 1961

    I agree with Danielle – this column brought tears to my eyes, and kind of helps to balance the “bad parking” entries. I love the “You Don’t Have to Be Rude to Live in Westport”.bumper sticker!

  4. Jonathan McClure

    Unsung Heroes?

  5. Jack Backiel

    As a teacher who taught for 33 years, with one year in Jamaica, this type of story is not unusual. I applaud those in the Westport school system who reach out to make a difference! Every one of us has that one teacher who we all remember fondly, and who made a difference in our life. Last weekend, in Alexandria, Virginia, I had dinner with my 1964 high school English teacher and his wife. When a teacher makes a difference, even fifty- five years later, one remembers.

  6. Adam Vengrow

    A perfect reason why Dan Woogs 06880 is so important. There is not another place to hear and share these stories. News is mostly all bad. I dont know Coach Matty but i do know Dan Clark. My son got into lax because of a few guys that drove the program at a young age. Dan is one of them. JD Mello and Justin Kovics and Mike Maurillo all drove a program that was weak in Westport. Rolling that into the success with Coach Koshansky and Coach Steve Anderson has been awesome. Coaches and Teachers drive and create the mindset of all our kids. They are a monumental cornerstone to teaching values around teamwork, leadership, perseverance, and work ethic. You are right on Dan Clark and a great handful of others across this town! Awesome story!!!!!

  7. Rindy Higgins

    I love this post: the recognition and praise of positivity, of compassion, of love, of support, of community. Made my day sparkle.

  8. That is such a nice story, I am so happy your son go this type of coach. Sadly, that was not the experience that we had with any of our coaches, my kids dropped the sports. WE need more coaches like this.

  9. Susan Bonner

    What a lovely story!