Monday, July 5, 2010

He Isn't the Butt Smacking Helmet Tapping Type

He isn’t the butt smacking helmet tapping kind of coach. He is different. He makes eye contact, thoroughly instructs, and nods with fists bumps in approval. Several weeks ago, spring football began. My middle child, an incoming junior, 5’8.5”, and 115 pounds decided to give the sport a try despite his obvious physical mis-match.

The eldest, B, was asked by the Varsity head coach to assist with the Freshman program. He talked to his dad and I about giving up time at his paid job to “work” this unpaid gig. He knew that his need for financial help in college would only increase if he took this coaching position. B has commented that he would like to follow in Bronco Mendenhall’s footsteps. We all agreed that this was a neat, yet limited opportunity, and taking it would help B decide if coaching was a good fit for him.

A week and a half into the short 4 week season of spring ball left me with no more self restraint. I needed to see how Y was fairing, and what B looked like coaching. I parked across the street from the field in the bowling alleys parking lot, took out my binoculars, and settled in to watch my boys. Y did a great job with all the catching drills. It seems as though the cell makeup for B’s notorious great hands may be present in Y too. I watched in delight, and quietly pulled away as the team took final huddle. When the boys got home, they informed me I was not even close to being in stealth mode. They had both seen me, and shook their heads in disbelief that I would even desire to go watch.

The final week, it was socially acceptable for me to watch the daily scrimmages. B had only spent one day with the freshmen program, and was quickly reassigned to JV and Varsity receivers. He was entrusted with the fun position of offensive coordinator for the JV scrimmages. Each evening I would gently chastise him for not calling a play where Y could score a touchdown!! He coyly blamed the quarterback for choosing another option. It was great fun to watch Y run routes and shake defense as his older brother had, and way cool to see his big brother, B, being held in such high esteem among the players and other coaches. The final scrimmage was held at a posh stadium across town. At the conclusion, the head Varsity coach joined me in the bleachers. He told me B was a natural at coaching. As a staff they were impressed how well the team responded to instruction from him. Many of these kids are his same age within a month or two. He told me he had already extended the invitation to B to rejoin the coaching staff when football began in the fall.

So as the next several weeks of summer pass, its good B is back at his paid job, saving all he can for school. A year ago, he anticipated leaving for college with a scholarship to play ball. His story carved out a different plan for the fall of 2010. Thus, when the green helmets dot the field in the blazing August sun, B will be there, on the sidelines, in the huddles, doing what he can, for now…

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