I love watching my Grandchildren in their extracurricular activities. Football, Basketball, Softball. And of the many plays and musicals my Grand Daughter is involved with each year. I myself was very involved with sports throughout my school years. Like Grandpa, my Grandson was starting his organized football career at an early age. A while back ago, I found myself at one of his football games and what I witnessed I felt compelled to write about.
I try my best to live in the present. It seems, however, the older I get the easier it is to live in the past. (I don’t think I’m the only one who has this problem BTW!) And as a result I seem to have constant comparisons going on in my head. So, while watching my Grandson run up and down the field, another comparison came blasting through my brain material.
When I was a child I was involved with many sports, including football. And what I remember at my Grandsons age was that we had one coach who pretty much did it all. All the kids were treated fairly and much like real life then, the kids who worked the hardest were the ones rewarded the most. I know, sounds simple. Like it or not, work hard, get rewarded.
While reminiscing about “how it was” my eyes began to gaze across the field and I couldn’t help but notice all of the men huddled together on the sidelines of both teams. Turning to my step son I said “Jeremy, who are all those guys standing along the sidelines with the kids?” He chuckled and said, “Those are the assistant coaches.” I did a double take when I began to count them all on the sideline. No less than five, perhaps as many as seven or eight were on either sides of the field with perhaps only twenty or twenty-five players to coach. Every now and then one of them would would talk to one of the kids, I’m assuming “mentoring” them.
Again, my recollection of childhood sports is obviously much different than what transpires today. From what I remember, there was little politics involved. I don’t want to say it didn’t exist (even back then!) but it was less out in the open perhaps. The kids who worked hard, went to practice, showed progress and had talent were rewarded. Those who didn’t, sat on the bench as incentive to work harder. Sounds so simple doesn’t it?
When I was my Grandsons age playing football there was one coach, Mr. Miller. (Hmmm, even at 50 I still remember his name….) Not until middle school did we have more than one coach. Men, my Dad included, we’re too busy earning a living and trying to get ahead in life to be worried about the “Social Implications” of being your child’s coach. Not to mention those “parent coaches” that are actually living their failed sporting endeavors through their children’s success.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being involved in your child’s athletic pursuits. But don’t you think you would be better served by the old adage “Quality over Quantity”? Of course this is only my humble opinion, but I would prefer to teach my children through open communication and even more importantly through my own actions. Showing them day in and day out how important it is to be trustworthy, dedicated, and hard working. Oh, and making sure I go to as many of their sporting or theatrical events as I possibly can in the process.
I guess what I’m saying is, If you really want to be your kids coach, coach them in life and lead by example. If they are successful in life, sports will just be the icing on the cake!