Friday, March 23, 2012

Coach Bob

Every coach I've ever had, with the exception of my dad, is known to me simply as "Coach." (I call my dad "Coach Daddy.") My high school soccer coach? Coach. My little league baseball coach? Coach. My horse and buggy? Coach.

They can't all be good jokes, people.

Most of my coaches were doing more than just teaching us kids how to choke up on a bat, how to steal a base or making us run laps before practice. They were mentoring us. They invested their time not only into practice and games, but they also invested their time in us. They made a personal connection. Along the way we learned how to be gracious winners, to learn from every loss, and how to mentally prepare for the game. Basically, they taught us life lessons that I am forever thankful for.

And this Spring the Coach Torch is being passed onto yours truly. I am going to coach my daughter's soccer team.

I will henceforth be known forever as Coach Bob.

To be honest, I'm really excited and also slightly terrified. OK, very terrified. What if I am a bad coach? What if the kids don't have fun?

I'm not really concerned about winning and losing - I just want the kids to have fun. Hopefully they get to experience some wins along the way. But I really want to instill in them that soccer is a great and fun sport. I played for 14 years and was lucky to play in the Lafayette area, which when I was growing up was filled with some of the best players in the state. My high school, Acadiana High, won the state championship twice while I was on the team. Our rival high school, Lafayette High, won a few years later. STM was also a great soccer school. I haven't kept up with which team won which year, but my point is that we had a lot of great players.

So hopefully all those guys that I played with are now coaching their own kids... which my team will then crush. Game on!

Today Betty and I took the kids to Academy to buy some soccer balls (pink for Annie, blue for Peter), shin guards and cleats. When I was young we also wore knee guards, but I guess kids today are too cool for that. I also got some orange cones, which will come in handy for soccer practices as well as for Halloween this year.

But Academy... wow, I was like a kid in a candy store! Just walking through the aisles filled with cleats, balls, and bats made me really excited about our kids playing sports. Betty had to literally drag me by the arm to get me to focus on getting cleats for Annie. I kept wandering off. "But Betty, maybe we'll need this 6x3 soccer goal in the near future...."

But the best piece of soccer equipment that I bought was my whistle.

I decided to test my whistle out on my kids. So when I walked into the house tonight, I blew the whistle and yelled for my family to line up. Even Betty got in line!

"When I blow this whistle, you will each pick up toys in the living room and put them in the appropriate place. Ready?" Whistle!

Dude! It worked! My house is spotless! My kids were listening so well, and I didn't know when the novelty would wear off, so I had to keep going.

"When I blow this whistle, you will put on your PJs." Tweeeet! My kids miraculously put on their PJs with no fussing.

"When I blow this whistle, you will go brush your teeth." Tweeeeeet! Teeth brushed!

My whistle is magic!

The only person who doesn't respond to my every whistle command is Betty. My next purchase might have to be a bullhorn.

I can't wait to become Coach Bob. I just hope that I can do even half of what my former coaches have done for me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of the great people who shared your love of the game, your time and your energy with us when we were kids. I really appreciate it. And I hope that I make you proud as I make my own way into the coaching world.

Look at me... still trying to make my coaches proud!

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