I have been coached by many great people in my life, but the one that stands out the most is my own Father, When I was little my dad took his time to coach my sister and I, in all of our sports that he could. From T-Ball, to under 5′s soccer he was there. He would assist on any team my sister or I played on if they needed the help. If we weren’t at practice, we were in the back yard, or at the park practicing, working on drills. I never thought anything about it, it’s just what he did. Being three years younger than my sister, I would go to all her games and practices just playing around on the side, dribbling the ball around the field, shooting goals at half time, or just learning by watching her play. One of my favorite things I remember about traveling to all my sister’s games, was that my Dad would tell my sister and I inspirational thoughts going to the games. During the games my Dad would either be coaching her team, or there watching her just as a parent, and tossing me a football like dog chasing a ball. You know when the dog comes up to with a ball going “come on play! throw the ball!” and you grab the ball and throw it just to have them bring it right back. That was me, just a skinny little kid running up to my dad saying throw the football. He would take the ball throw it out for me, and just like that dog I was running it right back. My sister was a top athlete, and was on all the high competition sports teams. So he’s focus was more on her games, but would find that quick moment to keep me entertained. I also now realize why he kept throwing the ball farther and farther, so he could help her out, and ware me out.
Like I said he coached all my sports while I was growing up, in different sports. If he wasn’t my head coach he was an assistant, or other coaches would come to him for advice. Now my Dad didn’t play all the sports he coached me in, and will admit to me today that at the beginning he didn’t even know the sport that well. What he did know though was how to coach, and motivate. I mean he was a college offensive linemen, and had been the manager to a heavy weight boxer. That didn’t stop him from learning the game of soccer, or softball. Sure he knew the game rule’s, but the strategy was what he had to learn on his own, or working with other coaches. He had a way of taking command when he coached, being a leader. I know some people may thought he had shown favoritism, or maybe he was too hard on me. Not the case at all, he treated me at that level same as every other teammate I had, I just had to go home with him after the games. On the field I was just another player, and had to work just as hard to keep my starting spot.
Later as I got older he was coaching football at the High School, which was awesome for me. I was in seventh and grade riding the bus with the team as the water boy, or the ball boy. I looked up to those players as NFL stars, and I got to be around them. I saw it all, and it made me want to play football more than anything in the world, which I hadn’t played yet until High School. As a freshman I had now idea how much an impact my Dad made on his team’s till I got there. My Dad was the o-line varsity coach when I was a freshmen, and the next year he moved down to be the head coach of JV team so he could coach me. To my surprise I got moved to Varsity, and now my Dad wasn’t my coach. He had all my friends, and I was practicing with a bunch of JR’s and SR’s. After three preseason games I asked the head varsity coach if I could play on JV to get more playing time. So I was now being coached in the game I loved, and watched my dad on the sidelines as a water boy by my Dad. Same story I had to prove myself not only to him, but to the rest of the team that I was worthy of earning a starting spot. It turned out to be my best year ever, and made a real impact on the team. We won our league, and I was proud to say I had a big part of it. I think I can say this now, but back then I wouldn’t ever say a thing. My Dad and I would put in special plays just for me. It worked, some games I would score two-three touchdowns with 150 receiving yards in a game. But I still would get my butt chewed out if I missed a tackle, or dropped a pass. We also had a tradition called a touchdown breakfast, before every game and we would eat a big meal and talk about how we were going to win.
Once I left for college to UTEP for football, I would call my Dad everyday and tell him how practice went, and he would give me advice or motivation on what to do. He was still coaching me even if he wasn’t there. I transferred to a college in Nebraska, he we still talked everyday. Just like he was my coach, his Dad would go to all of his practices to watch, I guess it just runs in the family. While I was in college my Grandfather passed away, and my dad told me when ever I feel frustrated or burned out. To just think my Grandfather was there in the stands during my practices watching over me, it truly worked. Every once in a while I would look into the empty stands during practice, and think “watch this Grandad”.
Needless to say I became a coach myself, and even had my Dad coach with me. While I was the head varsity football coach, my dad would go in the booth with the head phones and help me out. To this day I run into all kinds of people my Dad had coached over the years, and the first thing they say is “Your Dad was the best coach I ever had, he was the greatest” Funny part is it’s my Dad, and I’m like yeah he’s pretty good I know. Grown men still ask me if they can get my Dad’s number just to see how he is doing, and share some stories. My best friends still call him coach, and its 15 years later.
Behind my father/coach was a Mom who had just as impact on my sister’s and mine life. I don’t think she ever missed a game we ever played in. Most of all she had to put up with my Dad after wins, and losses, which isn’t an easy task. They both were great support for my sister and I. I Love my Mom for all of her support as well. I still turn to my Dad for advice and help, which he is there for me no mater what. Most of my greatest memories were being coached by him, and that’s why I’m writing this. To say thank you and Happy Fathers Day Coach!
“HIT EM HIGH, HIT EM LOW, HIT HARD!!” Bob Turnbeaugh