A dad’s hardest coaching job is letting someone else do it
By Joe Black | (email@example.com)
Today is Father’s Day. For those of us blessed with children, I’m not sure that we have a more important role in our lives than to be good parents to our children.
I’ve said many times that I don’t see many bad kids but I’ve seen way too many bad parents. Anybody that’s been around sports as much as I have has seen the worst of the worst.
Like the dad that didn’t want to go to his daughter’s games because she wasn’t going to get to play anyway. My sermon was that he needs to be there more if she’s not playing than if she is.
Or the dad who was so overbearing that his child couldn’t enjoy the basketball game because of the constant criticism that was being offered from the sideline. That child ended up quitting the game they loved because of it.
I’ve listened to dads in the stands yell at their kid, coaches, referees, and opposing players. One of the worst would criticize everyone on his son’s team but his own son. Loudly. Bitterly.
I want to tell you about a couple of dads that I think got it right.
Logan Winders was a standout on the 2012 MHS football team that made it to the state championship game and an important part of the 2011 team that won that same championship. His brother Zane, who just completed his college career at Maryville College (where Logan will matriculate this fall), did much the same.
Their father, Joey Winders, has coached a variety of youth sports teams around here but is most widely known as the head coach of the Maryville Southerners, a Pee-Wee team in the Parks & Recreation football league.
Joey’s efforts on behalf of youth sports in this community are almost beyond compare. Long before his boys were playing, he was coaching. Baseball, basketball, football. I don’t recall that he coached other sports along the way but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he did.
He has been such a part of the fabric of youth sports around here that if he had tried to be heavy handed with the high school career of his sons, few would be surprised. He coached them pretty much all the way up to high school, and it had to be hard to step aside and turn Zane and Logan over to other coaches.
But that’s exactly what he did. Sure, he worked behind the scenes, doing whatever parents could do to support the whole team. Like feed them, before and after games. Come early and stay late to do those things that need to be done.
He lifted his kids up when they were down and stood to the side and let them live in the glory when they thrived. For my money, he was a really great dad — an example of how that role should be played out.
Nick Myers was the quarterback of this same football team. Few would argue that his performance from game 1 through the championship game wasn’t a big reason, maybe the biggest, for this past year’s success.
His dad Don Don was also a youth sports coach but what I will always remember about him is that he was at football practice pretty much every single day of Nick’s high school career, quietly observing from the periphery of the practice field.
As far as I can tell, he never tried to coach or criticize, and I honestly never heard a negative word come out of his mouth, even when his son was battling for a starting position or having a bad day.
Joey & Don Don: Good dads that understand that these days passed too quickly yet made the best of them.
Well done guys. Happy Father’s Day.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)