As another season of youth football has come to a close, and it is my son’s last season as he will be entering high school next year, I am faced with the dilemma of, “is this my last season, too or will I coach again next year?”
Many people assume it is my last given my son’s age and I may take a break from it next year, but I don’t really think it is my last for one simple reason – Why I really coach.
Many youth coaches are out there because it is a way to be involved with their own kids. They find it is a way to build a bond and have something special with their child. In many cases if they did not step up to coach their might not be a team at all. Unfortunately, you also see the ones who at the end of a game aren’t as concerned with the final score as they are with their own kid’s statistics. They coach to insure that their kid is the star and is in every play.
There are also those coaches who do it because it fulfills their competitive needs. They are former athletes themselves still in great shape, but are too old to be allowed on the field themselves. They are living vicariously through their players until the Redskins call. They like the rush they get from winning and the power they feel which is something they don’t get from their jobs.
Then are those who really do have something to share and want to make a difference. They see coaching as a way to pass along some of their knowledge and help give something back to the community.
So, which one am I?
I definitely have done it to be involved with my kid. I have done it not to make my kid the star but in one case to prevent that “one dad” from ruining the season for everyone by him making his kid the star at the expense of everyone else. I do love the thrill of winning but, alas, I have not maintained my athletic physique and if the Redskins were to call me, it would be to be a food taster for Dan Snyder.
I have done it to give something back to the community and make a difference in a kid’s life but I think I am unique in why I think I can or should do this. I had a great teacher and coach growing up. My Dad.
He was my baseball coach all through Little League. When he passed away several years ago, at his funeral I saw several men who I hadn’t seen since high school or even some since we had played Little League together. Each one was there because my dad as their Little League coach 30 years earlier had touched their lives in a way they never forgot. Several of them shared stories about how he had helped them or how as an adult they had remembered something he taught them or said to them that got them through difficult times. All things that I didn’t know or just took for granted. When I saw the impact he had on so many young people by just being a dad who was a volunteer baseball coach, I knew I had to follow his example.
This is one of many reasons I am so passionate about what coaches do and say around players and the special treatment gifted athletes are given. Kids are impressionable and like it or not they do notice. Winning is important but it is not why kids should be playing and why coaches should be coaching. It is not the win/loss record that will have a lasting impact.
Do I think any of the kids I have coached will show up at my funeral one day? I doubt it. But I would like to think that when one of them comes to a crossroads in their life (i.e. rob the Smoothie King or not?) they will think about something I did or said and make the right choice.
Just like my Dad.
Side Note: Jasmina Parazic, who is pictured in the article, coached my daughter this year in Field Hockey. A great expereince for her and now she is hooked on the sport!