Oh, how I dearly love football. When the air is crisp, the sun is shining and my team is winning, it’s a beautiful experience. Now, I understand there are a lot of women, moms, wives and girlfriends who are either indifferent or flat out don’t like the sport. Maybe they don’t understand it, maybe they do and don’t like the violence, maybe they don’t like the cold weather it usually entails. I, on the other hand, love it all. I love all levels of football, from peewee to professional; each one has something that draws me in.
These days I am most often experiencing football at the high school level because Justin is a football coach. High school football is an experience not to be missed, there are so many positives. At the high school where Justin coaches, it is an event that involves the entire community, from the pregame meal provided by parents, to the capacity stadium full of people from all sectors, not just parents and students. I love it all.
But let me tell you what I don’t love; I don’t love obnoxious parents who think they know what it is like to be a coach. Let me preface this by saying that most parents are wonderfully supportive, it's just the bad seeds that tend to stand out. Now, maybe my view is skewed by lack of experience on my part as Tysen has never played organized sports. Hey, the kid is not quite two, he doesn’t do anything organized! However, I have been on both sides of the game, first as the girlfriend/fiancé of a football player and now as the wife of a coach.
Last night, I witnessed a parent exclaim that his kid should be allowed back into the game, even though the trainer suspected he had a concussion. I listened to disparaging remarks aimed at all the coaches on the sidelines for one call or another. I sat next to a parent who obviously thought he knew how to call a game, and attempted to do so from where he was sitting, while continuously bad mouthing the fathers of the kids Tysen was currently playing with. And it angered me.
Now, I won’t say that I’ve never questioned a play call in my more rambunctious fan days. I have wondered at the disparity of playing time between athletes, I have possibly wondered what was going on down on that sideline, what the coach could possibly be thinking. However, now I know.
I know that last night was game night, and my husband did not get home until after midnight, even though the game had been over since 9:45. I know that most nights, the head coach puts in at least a 12-14 hour day. I know that during football season we don’t spend a traditional weekend as a family due to football meetings and game planning and film breakdown. I know that our family is making sacrifices so that school can have a winning program. I know that I am ok with all the time and effort Justin puts in, because he loves the kids and he loves the game.
So, parents of athletes, next time before you start berating the coach about last week’s game, think to yourself that maybe, just maybe, when the coach was watching film at one o’clock in the morning he saw something you didn’t. Please remember that he has given up his time with family to make your son or daughter a better athlete, but more importantly a better person.