A youth sports coach gets back to coaching
Do you ever wonder why coaches give up cushy gigs as network commentators to get back to the grind of leading players who may or may not want to be lead? I don’t.
A few hours ago I finished a season-opening meeting for coaches in the Alsip (Ill.) Park District co-ed basketball league, where I’ll be coaching my fifth-grade daughter in basketball for the first time. By the end of last school year, I felt pretty burned out, having coached fall softball, fifth- and sixth-grade co-ed basketball, seventh- and eighth-grade co-ed basketball and spring T-ball without a break. But having taken the summer and fall off, sitting in that meeting got my juices flowing for another year of coaxing reluctant pre-teens to play a sport they may or may not like.
It seems like at the end of every season, I’m fighting back tears of joy for the long journey my team has taken, whether they win a championship, or they don’t lose a game. As much work as it is to be a volunteer coach, it’s incredible to watch a group of kids that barely knows each other turn into, well, if not friends, at least on-court or on-field compadres who really look out for each other.
So when the inevitable day comes that coaches-turned-TV-commenters Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden return to the NFL, back to long hours and sleepless nights, I can completely understand. After a little R-and-R myself, I’m chomping at the bit, ready to put youngsters through their paces again, ready to be frustrated, perturbed, upset, and wholly exhilarated.