It's that time of year again. Autumn brings many a thing. Fall colors, warmer clothing (yes, that includes boots for those of you who know me) and more darkness. But it also brings football. And with football, comes another thing; coaching.
I am on the eve of completing my 12th season of coaching (8 in flag/4 in tackle) and I wanted to share some thoughts on this calling.
First of all, it's so worth the time. From the beginning of August through the end of October, don't plan on making plans with me. It's at least a four night a week commitment and your Saturday's are gone-zo. But it's worth every minute, hour and day. I could do this for 52 weeks a year and never get burned out.
There are two gifts you get.
The first comes from the friendships you form with the other coaches. A lot of times you are thrown together with other dads who you really didn't know beforehand. You share the frustrations. You share the celebrations. You share in the delight when one of your players learns AND executes. You share both sides of the column; the W's and the L's (with an occasional T in there as well). But most importantly, you share life with each other. During "coaches' meetings," you work on football things but more importantly....you work on life things. They become like your brothers.
The second gift comes from the kids. You love to see the growth. You love to see the learning. You love to see the confidence. You love to see their joy. You love to see the teamwork. You see the tears and frustration too. It's all there. But...most importantly...you see the trust. You can see it in their eyes. Mold them. Shape them. Give them a foothold on not only football but life.
This past season, my birthday happened to fall on one of our practice nights. Moments after I got to practice, the coaches and players all stopped what they were doing and sang happy birthday to me. It was one of the most memorable moments in my life. Not just my coaching life, but my whole life. It validated everything I have always believed in when it comes to coaching.
Wins and losses. It's life. The football season is a microcosm of your lifetime. And coaching...gives you a front row seat. It's the playbook of life. Learn every play. Earn every yard. Savor every last moment.