CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Daily Voice sat down for a brief conversation with Horace Greeley High School's Pete Kuczma, as part of our continuing spotlight on area athletic directors.
This is Kuczma's second go-round at the school. He was AD for 13 years - from 1989 to 2002 - before retiring to do interim work, including at Croton and Putnam Valley. Four years ago, in 2011, he was asked to return, and he did.
Kuczma has four children, all of whom attended Yorktown High School. Kevin and Brian both played lacrosse, and both won state titles with Yorktown. Brian now coaches at John Jay-East Fishkill and Kevin coaches at Greeley. Daughter Michelle was an all-section pitcher, and Paul is the oldest of the siblings.
What does Kuczma love about being AD at Greeley?
"Kids," he answered immediately. "Kids keep you young. As a teacher and an educator, the thing you always have to remember is that the kids' age stays the same. We keep getting a year older.
"So they keep you young because they're always learning different things, showing you different things. ... Take technology. If you need to learn about technology, ask a student.
"They know how to keep you thinking. And to watch kids play athletics, watch them perform, watch their ups and downs. Those are all the reasons why you do this."
Kuczma was asked what he feels is one of the bigger challenges facing high school athletes.
"I think the biggest challenge is the way people are thinking about athletics," he said. "They don't think of athletics as something for kids to do and play as a sport. They think of athletics as 'How am I gonna get myself into college? How am I going to go to these showcases, and put myself out there so I get a scholarship?'
"Parents and kids envision themselves as being No. 1," he added. "They have to envision their child as someone who is growing through stages. And each stage in athletics doesn't build character, it tests the character of the parents, that they have instilled in their kids.
"That's what athletics does. It gives them opportunities to try different things - and fail. A quotation I learned a long time ago - I never lose, I learn. That's what athletics does; you lose a game, you learn. You win a game, you learn. Those are things that keep on going in life."
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