My son, Carter is getting married this weekend.
One of the happiest days of my life was when his life began… I am sure this weekend will rival that day.
I actually got out of college coaching after the 2000 season so I could spend more time with family and enjoy his “growing up”… a decision that I never regretted.
During that time, I actually got to coach my son. Although they already had a staff in place, two kind men welcomed me and allowed me to help coach the Blue Springs Gators, my son’s Pop Warner team. I will be forever indebted to Bill Feldkamp and Dave Roberts, my fellow coaches on the team. Sadly, both of these men have passed… too early… leaving many great memories to countless young athletes they influenced… and to me.
I do not know how many readers have had the opportunity to coach their son or daughter. My two years coaching the Gators rank as some of the most enjoyable I have had in my career. I always knew it was special to me, but did not fully understand how it impacted my son until his junior year in high school. An essay he wrote for his journalism class brought it home… here are his words.
“During 5th and 6th grades I played football in a little league team coached by my dad. I know it sounds great to have a dad as a coach. It sounds like I would play a lot- I mean my dad was the coach why wouldn’t I?
But what I remember about that season is that I had to do every drill twice because the first time was never perfect, and that if I didn’t go all out on every play, I knew that he would see.
Last summer when he coached our school’s 7-on-7 football team, my dad and I would squabble about things he thought I needed to work on. It happened almost every day when we would get home after practice.
Even during that year’s football season he would annoy me in his attempts at tactility, trying to teach me ways to play better – my stance, my pass drops, how I needed to get my pads lower when playing, but he has always managed to commend my work ethic.
That work ethic is something that my dad has instilled in me since I was young, and something that I carry with me because it is something I know is right. I have learned to listen more, no matter how irritating he can be, because whether I like to admit it or not, a lot of the times my dad is right about a lot of things. Being a former high school and college football coach, my favorite sport (football) is one of those things.
So is teaching.
My dad has always said that coaches make good teachers. And we have talked about the fact that if you are a good teacher, you can teach anything. Teaching is not necessarily about the subject being taught, but about having a certain, specific rapport with students.
I noticed something special about my dad last weekend at his 50th birthday party, something I hadn’t known before. I noticed that he has changed so many people’s lives in a positive way either by being their coach or teacher. This was not only evident by the hugs they would give him or smiles they would show when talking to him at the party, but by the stories they tell me.
When his former college football players showed up to his party that Saturday, they came with presents and jokes and their smiles and hugs, but also came with their stories, many of which were about the way my dad coached and pushed them. Former players who were now coaches, teachers, and principals themselves told many of those stories.
One of my dad’s players told me a particular story about how my dad had changed their season by telling them that they could take their team as far as they wanted. And that if he really worked, and really wanted it, the NFL was not out of reach. That player, Joe Grubb didn’t make it to the NFL though… he wasn’t “tall enough”. He told me that my dad really connected with them when he coached them, and that their team would not have worked the way it did if my dad had not been their defensive coordinator that year.
But they did work. Hard. And they ended up having the second highest ranked defense in the country that season.
Joe Grubb’s story made me think of the way my dad has shown me to work hard, and the methods used by others to teach. Whether they are your coaches, your teachers, your parents, or your friends, His story reminded me that every person’s actions affect the lives of those around them. It made me want to listen when spoken to, and to think before speaking, because everything said or done affects everyone around, and I would prefer to do so in a positive manor. I would like to do so in the way my dad has on his students, players, and me.”
I got back into public education, teaching, and coaching Carter’s senior year, at a Middle School (Wester) in Texas that fed into his high school (Centennial). Being a small part of his senior year of high school football … I was in the press box or on the sideline during his games… made that season memorable as well.
I am looking forward to many more great memories as his best friend, Cambria, “officially” joins our family this weekend!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org