Tag Archives: soccer

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!

The Danger of Being a Jackass Avoived

19 Oct

I was recently reminded not to be a jackass, which tends to be important when you’re a parent.

You’re gonna have these moments … however your mission in life is trying to minimize them. As a person or parent, this should be a great guideline. And there I was on the tip of it, about to cross into jackass territory when my internal dialogue checked me.

The voice.

I heard it.

It wasn’t a scolding, you shouldn’t do this, watch your tone voice. It was a story. I had heard a story and it stuck with me. I had archived it. Didn’t know when I would need it, but thought it was important enough that I needed to keep it close. Being a sports fan and growing up as an athlete I figured it was just as powerful a lesson as Rudy, Hoosiers, or The Natural.

There I was on the soccer field watching my son and his Bad News Bears team trying to get the ball down the field. Just trying to get it to the other side. Now they’ve had difficulty doing this for the past few games as a number of members tend to kick it out of bounds.

Now seeing how my son is usually assigned the role of defender he never really gets a chance to lead the charge. I guess his ability to check people and clear the ball served the team better as a defender, closer to the goal.

So when he got the opportunity to kick the ball out of the box and down field, I thought he’d be eager and quick to blast it. But as they placed the ball in front of him, he turned trying to find an open teammate. Everyone appeared to be covered and it hadn’t dawned on them to try and move around or closer to my son.

So he waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Then I heard my voice.

Kick it! Just kick it!

Then I heard a few others saying … Hurry, kick it!

And he didn’t.

Not yet.

But after a few more seconds which seemed to feel like forever, he finally passed it down field to his teammate. This happened three times in one period.

So when he came in for a water break smiling about the fact that he was chosen to kick it down field, my thoughts were replaced by the story …

It was a high school football game and two Dads were in the stands watching their kids play the game. One of the players, John, was an all-star offensive player, always getting an opportunity to get his hands on the ball and gain first downs or score touchdowns. The other, George, was a defensive player who never really handled the ball, until that night.

There was fumble and George was able to pick it up. He took a step to the left, then a step to the right, and then got pummeled by huge offensive linemen. It was the kind of tackle where you could hear the crunch of the helmets. Everyone in the stands winced. The only thing people remembered about that play was not the fumble but the way George was leveled by the other team

John’s Dad put his arms around George’s Dad and just as he was about to give him his condolences, George’s Dad said …

“Did you see that? Did you see that! Those were the best two moves ever!”

George’s Dad didn’t see what everyone else saw. George’s Dad was beaming with pride as he saw the best offensive move his son had made to date.

So when my son came in smiling, I handed him his Batman water bottle and told him those three kicks were awesome. Maybe he’d get a chance in the next game to kick four.

The danger of being a jackass … avoided.

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