Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

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4 Responses to “Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor”

  1. The Good Greatsby September 1, 2019 at 12:52 PM #

    The first time I coached Little League baseball was a bit of an accident. I showed up early with my sons and the woman organizing the league was stressed because the anticipated coach had backed out last second. I offered to volunteer for the day and that turned into multiple seasons. That first day another mom showed up with twins and seemed very unimpressed that I had no answers to her questions about the team, league rules, scheduling, etc. I kept trying to explain that I was just another parent who had arrived 15 minutes before her.

    • The Guat September 2, 2019 at 7:05 AM #

      Duuuuuuude. Yes! I can totally see that happening. Most parents are completely unimpressed with little league and parks coaches. It’s hilarious. I love how being on time to events or being there earlier than expected lead to unintended consequences … I mean opportunities. That’s such a good story. 🙂

  2. Apple Pie & Napalm September 1, 2019 at 2:12 PM #

    You are so ridiculously awesome! I’m so glad the girls are having fun and I bet they learn lessons now that they pull from after they’re grown. And anyone that name checks Coach Taylor is my bff.

    • The Guat September 2, 2019 at 7:08 AM #

      Duuuude I love Coach Taylor. He’s my favorite. Kyle Chandler… I should buy a blue windbreaker/jacket and hat just so I can channel his awesomeness. Here’s hoping for a good first season:)

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