I wrote this years ago but goodness, does it hit me in the feels again as summer begins. Blessings to all those men and women who spend their summers and their seasons investing in their players and the community. We love you.
(See preview below or link to Friday Night Wives for the full post.)
Early in our marriage, I accompanied my husband to a Glazier clinic in Chicago. It was my first football clinic, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We arrived in the hotel parking lot, grabbed our bags, and headed in.
The sight that met me inside those doors was one I will never forget—and one I have not stopped loving since.
There they were, a sea of men.
Old and young, many with excellent beards, all of them wearing football apparel. They milled about carrying bags, checking in, and saying, “Hey Coach!” “Hi Coach!” And,“Hey Coacher, long time no see. How’d the season go?”
As I looked around, my heart swelled. These were my people.
Even though I didn’t know them, I knew I loved all of them. It felt like the way a sister loves a brother, or a mother loves her son, because that’s exactly what it was. A room full of brothers. A room full of sons.
A room full of kindred spirits who were gathered together because they were doing the same work we were, all over the country.
As I reflect on that moment, and the many clinics we’ve been to since then, I wanted to highlight a few of these coaches and why I love them. So here’s to you, the coaches I’ve loved before.
The Young Coach
You, precious 22 or 23-year-old, I see you. I see you looking around at all these men, wondering what your coaching career might look like. I see you attend the sessions with your heroes. I see the stars in your eyes and the insecurity in your youth. We love you so much.
We may even especially love you in your singleness because some coach’s family somewhere gets to take care of you for a bit through dinners, holidays, or a Sunday afternoon watching ball until your own wife comes along. We love you, young coach.
The Old Coach
You, ol’ ball coach, I almost can’t see you for the tears in my eyes. I see you standing there, slightly hunched, slower than the men on your staff. Your voice is gruff from years of coaching, and you aren’t trying so hard to fit in anymore.
You’ve learned what’s important and you’re cool with going to bed early while the young guys stay up shooting the breeze. You have literally impacted the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of young men, and somehow survived the many minefields of the career. We love you, old coach.
The Assistant Coach
You, right-hand man, are more valuable than you know. You may want the big job someday, or you may be content with your role as it is. Regardless, you provide a foundation for your head coach that he can never fully thank you for. The hours of film, the days in the off-season, the boys you love with everything you’ve got even though your name is never the one on the interview. Dependable. Steady. Always ready. You are the man. We love you assistant coach.
The Head Coach
You, a leader in the school. You, a figurehead in the community. I see you, and so does everybody else. You take the praise, but you also take the bullets. When the team does well, you praise the boys and the men on your staff. When the team does poorly, you say you need to do better. You spin more plates in the air than you can count and you need a secretary, although you can’t afford one. You sometimes miss the days when you could just coach and love kids, but you know that your leadership is exponentially impacting all involved. We love you head coach.
For additional messages to the Line Coach, Skills Coach, and Atypical Coach, read the full post here.