FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES
by Staff Sgt. Jes L. Smith, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
FORT BLISS, Texas – What could possibly motivate a parent who has never played a sport in her life to go from being a mother-spectator to a mother-coach?
For Delia Bell, a military spouse of 12 years, her motivation came from seeing a need for coaches for her daughter’s soccer team. With the help of her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Jason D. Bell, a maintenance supervisor with B Company, 47th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas, she pushed through normal insecurities of the unknown and volunteered to coach for the Fort Bliss Child Youth and School Services sports program.
Coach Bell, a mother of two, first got involved with CYSS sports in 2004 when the family was first stationed at Fort Bliss and her husband got deployed to Iraq for the first time. This was before the birth of their second child and so the deployment left her and her son, Peyton Bell, age 11, alone together.
Her motivation was to keep busy during the yearlong deployment.
“When you are deployed, the military offers free sports to your kids,” said Jason Bell, a Pasadena, Texas, native. “So Peyton played everything just to keep him busy, to keep him active, to keep his mind off me not being there. I think it helped keep Delia’s mind off me not being there as well.”
After the deployment, Peyton continued to play sports. The Bell family welcomed their daughter Roselyn Bell, age 4, to the family and Jason deployed one more time. Through this, Coach Bell a San Diego, Calif., native, would remain just another mother in the stands until they moved back to Fort Bliss two years ago.
Upon arriving at Fort Bliss, they enrolled their daughter, who was three at the time, in her first sport. It was a girls three-to-four year old soccer league with CYSS. Due to the lack of volunteers, her team had to be coached by a member of the CYSS staff, who was also coaching two other soccer teams in the age group.
While the Bells felt their coach did a great job with the team, Coach Bell felt it was too much to ask one person to coach all those different teams.
“There has always been a need for coaches, especially at the younger levels,” said Coach Bell. “Usually the teams end up being coached by parents with players on the team.”
Coach Bell has always felt comfortable around young children and knew that volunteer coaches are hard to find, so she approached her husband with the idea to support the Army youth sports program.
“She knew there wasn’t going to be enough coaches again,” said Jason Bell. “She told me she wanted to coach and asked if I would help, which for me saying yes was the only answer. She has always supported me and I will always support her.”
Jason went on to say that his wife’s motivation to coach a sport she knew little about is just an extension of all the other great motherly things she has done since they were married 12 years ago.
“She loves our kids and she loves being part of anything they do,” said Jason. “ She is a very devoted mother. Whatever they do – my son’s school band and his soccer seasons, now my daughter’s soccer and T-ball – she puts 110 percent in every time.”
Since her first season coaching her daughter’s three-to-four year old soccer team she, has gone on to coach two more soccer seasons and one T-ball – coaching her daughter’s team each time.
To overcome her limited knowledge in soccer and her even more limited knowledge in T-ball, Coach Bell said she relied heavily on help from others.
“The people at CYSS were very helpful to me when I started out by teaching me the rules, teaching me different drills and generally showing me how to run a practice,” said Coach Bell. “It also helped that, my first season, my husband was my assistant coach. Having him there helped me with being nervous about coaching a sport that I knew very little about.”
By accepting help with teaching the fundamentals and having a coaching style focused on first having fun at every practice and every game, Coach Bell confidently credited her four seasons as successful by factors other than wins and losses.
First, she noted the positive feedback she gets from parents of children on her teams.
One of those parents is Cpl. Christopher Davidson, a team leader with the 501st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, and he said Coach Bell did a great job coaching his four-year-old daughter, Kaleya, by balancing the need to teach basic fundamentals and how to be a teammate and competitor, with keeping things fun enough to keep his daughter excited to go to every practice and game.
“Whenever coach shows up, she is always happy to see the kids and shows that she really wants to be here,” said Davidson, a Newport News, V.A., native. “I think the kids feed off that behavior and I know myself and the other parents really appreciate her volunteering her time.”
Second, she said she rates success from seeing her athletes motivated to come out season-to-season and play for other CYSS teams because of the positive experiences they had while on her teams.
“When the kids get older they will naturally get more competitive and the emphasis may become less on having fun and more on winning,” said Coach Bell. “At the age I get my athletes they are usually playing a sport for the first time, and if they have a horrible time they won’t want to play sports again.”
The first two seasons Coach Bell’s husband was her assistant coach and her third she was helped by a parent of one of the girls on the team. This past season she convinced her good friend Martha Aguilar, also a military spouse of 12 years, to join her in going from being the parent in the stands to a mentor on the field as well.
Aguilar, like Coach Bell, never played a sport growing up. They were also both mothers of children on the team and they were both nervous about volunteering to coach a sport they knew little about.
“When Delia first asked me to coach I was unsure that I could do it,” said Aguilar, an El Paso, Texas, native. “Delia told me that for the younger kids, I just needed to teach the basics, that it was really easy and really fun. She also told me she would teach me everything I needed to know.”
The season went so well for Bell and Aguilar that they will be coaching together again for the CYSS spring soccer season starting in January.
“Luckily I’ve been really blessed with the kids I have had on my teams,” said Coach Delia. “I have really enjoyed being around the kids I have had and that motivates me to keep doing it.”
For information on volunteer opportunities or to register a child for activities dial (915) 568-4374 or visit www.blissmwr.com/cys.
This story is part two of a four part series highlighting mentors of children in the Fort Bliss community.
||FORT BLISS, TX, US
||EL PASO, TX, US
||PASADENA, TX, US
||SAN DIEGO, CA, US
This work, Meet Your Mentor Part 2: The Devoted Mother, by SSG Jes Smith, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.