LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is a Lady Bulldogs tradition. In fact, it starts the playoffs every season.
"In the postseason, we do it every year, like it's never skipped," Male senior Madison McCoy said.
Every year. Every player.
"That is one thing we always look forward to," junior Megan Lenhart said. "I know I was looking forward to it this year, like I couldn't wait to get my letter."
It's something Josh Bloomer started in his second season of coaching, then at Mercy High School.
"I wrote the letters because I felt like my team was nervous about playing and the potential of losing in the district and not moving on to the regional," Bloomer said.
The routine followed him to Male. Before the playoffs begin, every player is given a handwritten letter from their head coach.
"So he gives us a letter, and we go out and pick our own little post and it's just us," Lenhart said. "No one is around us or anything, and we read them before the game,"
"In these letters, he's telling us what he likes the most about what we've done this year, what we've overcome," McCoy added. "It makes you feel really good about yourself, especially; he wants you to feel really good going in to the postseason. He wants you to read the reason that you're here."
For a coach who admits he is demanding, this is a chance to show a more personable side.
"We like the letters; we always look forward to them and seeing what Bloomer has to say when he's not yelling," junior Jasmine Miller said laughing. "We get a different side of him, and I appreciate it."
As Male advances in the tournament, more letters come. Coach Bloomer writes one to the team before every game. It's read as part of the pregame warm up.
"What is in the letter is what we're supposed to be focusing on in that game," McCoy said.
"It comes back eventually saying, 'Look, we're going to do what we do, and this is who you are. This is what we do best, and this is how we're going to play,'" Bloomer added.
A coach at any level is often judged by the win column. Like so many others, Bloomer hopes to do more than just win; he wants to instill some sort of foundation for future success in his players.
That's where the letters come in.
"I just want them to have something that they can take with them that's not just words but something tangible, that they can hold on to and maybe down the road they know all their efforts were appreciated," Bloomer said.
Bloomer has written hundreds of letters and will likely write hundreds more, but the concerns now are the three letters that the Lady Bulldogs hope to read this weekend.
One for Friday.
Another letter for Saturday.
And a third for Sunday's state championship game.
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