Monday, August 10, 2009

The colors of coaching

Whenever August rolls around, I ask my daughters what types of physical activities they're planning to fill up their time with in the Fall. Usually, their response is "I don't know," followed by "I'm going to school. Isn't that enough?"
Then I'm forced to clarify. "No, walking around at school isn't enough. Do you guys want to play soccer, or maybe brush up on some swim lessons, or how about a dance class or something?" That's usually met with a thick silence, like I've asked them to deliver calves out back.
I've learned that if I throw something out there and then shut up, the girls will actually mull over what I suggested. A couple of times, Lauryn has said she wanted to play soccer, and it would be really great if I coached her team. That was usually followed by the familiar pang of family/community obligation in my fatherly gut, and before you can say "over-sized shin guards," I'd signed up yet again to coach YMCA co-ed kids' soccer.
Coaching can be really fun, as long as it's soccer, and not a sport that utilizes lethal weaponry, like T-ball. I won't expound on my lone T-ball coaching escapade; I'll just say the combination of a four-year-old with an aluminum bat is like, well, a four-year-old with an aluminum bat. By the time the season ended, one of my kids had been hit in the face by the ball so many times, he didn't even cry anymore. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
With kids' soccer, there really isn't a lot a kid has to know. You just instruct them to stay on the field (not run to the bathroom when they see one of their friends do it), and think about soccer the whole time. One kid walked over to me while he was supposed to be playing and said, "My brother punched me in the junk this morning." I remember saying, "So are you okay now?" He replied, "Yep," and then ran back onto the field. It would be pretty funny if adults were that blunt, but also a little creepy.
I've found that these kids prefer really accurate names for their teams. When I told one team that their uniforms were going to be red, they became the Red Flames. On another team, Purple shirts meant it was Purple Panther time. We've also been the Green Limes (like there's another color of lime) and the Yankees (not sure how that happened). Lauryn was once on a team where they couldn't agree on which yellow thing they wanted to be, so they became the Banana Lemon Lightning.
We'll see what my daughters choose this Fall. I've finally reached the point where more knowledgeable people are coaching my kids, so my sports mentoring days are probably behind me. I guess I could always try coaching that dance class.


  1. You've got a way with words, Tim.
    As Adam Sandler might say: Punch Junk. Love.

  2. I can see it now: off-the-shoulder sweatshirt Tim, "You got big dreams, and right here's where you start payin, IN SWEAT..."