Why We Coach Youth Football
For many youth football coaches, the reason you coach is simple. Your boy is on the team and you want to help make sure he has a good youth football experience. For other coaches, they just love the game or like the camaraderie and competition. For some it’s about helping shape young men.
This May my calendar was full every weekend due to graduation parties. My mailbox was flooded with invitations to both High School and College graduation ceremonies and parties. It warmed the cockles of my heart to be remembered by players I coached so many years ago. I was also very happy to see these young men having success in the classroom. My wife was amazed at the number of invitations and had a hard time remembering many of the players. William Smith just graduated from Hastings College, but when this announcement arrived, she had no idea who the heck William Smith was. William arrived at his first practice with our team back in 1998 with a big purple cool-aid mustache across his face. Every practice during that first month, same thing a big purple cool-aid stain engrained on his face in a big smile pattern like the makeup you see on circus clowns. The kid absolutely loved cool-aid. One day I was talking to William about his love for cool-aid, as a very talkative and outgoing kid, he went into great detail about his cool-aid habit and why grape was superior to all the other flavors. He was quite passionate and persuasive about it.
Back in those days I had yet to discover how important knowing the kids names were and how important a tool it was to get kids to trust and buy in by using their names. Plus I was forgetful, so I nicknamed William “Cool-aid”, which he loved. By the end of that season no one knew what his real name was. By his 8th grade year, people thought that Cool-aid was his real name. So when my wife saw a letter from a William Smith, she had no clue who he was. When I told her she knew him very well, she looked at me with a puzzled look, until I told her that William Smith was “Cool-aids” real name. We both got a great laugh out of it.
As a youth football coach, you never know how deep you are going to affect a player. You may not even see the results of the seeds you plant for 20 plus years. Many times you won’t get to see the results of your encouraging words and engaging smile, but every once in awhile that special kid or special family will remember you. This year we went to another graduation party of a very special player who I had to use some tough love to bring him around. He is going to play College Football and his mom and dad took the time to take me aside from a huge party to let me know how much they appreciated my efforts with their boy and they confided in me that they thought the very best coaching he ever got was with me personally. Top that off with a huge smile and a bear hug from their son who I had not seen in years and it makes all those sacrifices seem all worthwhile.
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