What would Hayden Fox do?
I never saw myself as coaching material. In fact, the sum of my coaching knowledge was gleaned from watching eight seasons of Coach. Actually, if you factor in reruns I probably watched 21 seasons of Coach. Don’t ask me why. It’s one of those television shows I used to watch all the time, but looking back I can’t for the life of me understand why. Like, Full House, Family Matters or Head of the Class. I mean really, how riveting was Arvid Engen and Dennis Blunden’s hijinks? And was I on the edge of my seat when Steven Urkel became Stephan Ürkél?
Where was I? Oh yeah, coaching.
Every year when I would go to sign my boys up for soccer I always stopped on the question at the end of the registration form – “Would you be interested in coaching?”
But I never stopped for long. I’d swallow my guilt, sign the form and hand it in. Then when I handed it in I would be cheerfully asked, “Are you interested in helping out with coaching at all this year? We really need volunteers.”
The guilt that had almost made its way to my stomach would then rocket back up like a plate of bad sushi. But I would force it back down again, smile and say, “I’d love to, but I don’t know if I could commit to every weekend.”
Then before they could say anything else I would hand in my form and get the hell out of there. The guilt would stay with me for a bit then there would be coaches there at the first game and I’d forget about it. “See,” I’d think to myself, “they have enough volunteers. All is well.”
Until all isn’t.
At my four year old son’s first game this year the coach asked if he could talk to all the parents. He explained that the other coach had bailed at the last minute and he really needed a parent to step up and help out. He needed another coach for the whole season and his wife was due in December, so he would be missing a few games. As every parent tried not to make eye contact with him, an internal dialogue started deep in the back of my mind.
Who else stupid?
I don’t have the time.
Why? You’re here anyways. What’s the difference? The kids need you/
Your son needs you.
I’m going to speak up.
Don’t you dare.
Hear I go.
I’m warning you.
“I can do it.”
Before I knew what happened, there was a jersey and a playbook in my hand and I was out on the floor with eight three and four year olds. The game was kind of a blur and I left thinking “What did I get myself into?”
But as each week progressed I really started to get into it. It’s really fun. The kids are great. I loved playing soccer growing up, and I forgot how much I love the game, how much I remember, and how much I can actually teach the kids. And the kids actually listen – it’s awesome to see them progress, come out of their shell and gain confidence. It’s also a great experience for my son and me. I love when he proudly calls me his coach. In fact, I love it so much that when my older son’s under eight team needed an assistant coach shortly into the season, I happily volunteered.
Community sports and arts programs are run by volunteers who are committed to enriching kids’ lives and bringing the community together. And they always need fresh blood. So consider helping out. It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. And it’s amazing to see what a difference even one or two hours of your time can make.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think Coach is on cable – I have a good feeling Luther and Dobber are going to get Coach Fox into a hilarious predicament and I need to take notes for next week’s games.