I have been blessed with a great job teaching at the high school level, and with that great job there was the opportunity to become an assistant coach for the football team. Having been a football player and fan for most of my life, it was without hesitation that I accepted that opportunity when it was presented. Originally I wanted to do it to just get back in the game. As a kid I knew that potentially someday there would be a time when I would love the chance to coach this great game. My original thoughts were that it must be a lot like playing Madden, you call the play and watch the athlete do all the work. I don’t know that I could have been more wrong in that thought.
Instead of just calling a play and letting the athlete perform, coaches at our level are the ones who mold the athlete, create the playbooks, mentor the athlete, counsel the athlete and in some cases take on the role of father for the athlete. Most people understand that before those kids go out there on Friday night and play, they have hours upon hours of preparation, most parents of athletes understand the time commitment involved first hand, but what is not seen is that whatever time commitment that player is putting into the sport, their coach, in most cases, is doubling and sometimes tripling what the athletes are doing. By no means do we look for sympathy, it is purely for the love of the game and the love of the athletes that we put in the kind of time that we do.
Some coaches want to advance their careers to bigger and better things. Some coaches are content staying on the level they are at and other coaches I am sure are just out there to be a part of something. In any case it would be difficult to find a coach out on that field who doesn’t want to be out there.
When you put on the whistle, you evoke a feeling unlike any other, you no have the ability to be a leader, a mentor, someone who can pave the way for a young man not only in his athletic career, but in his life. I still to this day say “sir” and “ma’am” to most people because that was instilled by my high school coach. I still to this day jog when my feet are on the turf. Seems like small things, but that is the power of being in this position. Someone looking from the outside might think it is just a game, but at the end of the season, when that player moves on to the next level, or moves on to find a job, that is when your coaching will shine through the most.
Those are the reasons I coach now. Yes I started out wanting to be a part of the program, quite frankly for selfish reasons. I was thinking how cool of an experience it would be for me. How I would like to brag about being a coach. How I might someday get recognized as a good coach. Now entering my third season as an assistant coach, I have come to the realization that I do it for the kids. I do it because those young men need someone who has been there, experienced what they are going through and can help guide them and mold them into someone who will be something special in the future. I don’t do it for college scholarships. I don’t do it for state championships. I do it because someday, one of our athletes will remember something I taught them and they will be a better person, father or husband because of it. That is why I coach. Do I want to win? Yes. Would I love to have a state championship ring? Absolutely, but that is not why I put the whistle around my neck.