My first job is as a Father. That's the most important thing I am doing right now. Coaching is what I do, it isn't who I am....for the most part.
Most of you know but if this is your first time here I'm a divorced father of two teenage boys. My boys live with me all but 12 nights a month so our relationship is really strong. I am at every game, every event and trying to model what being a Father encompasses. My oldest son Hayden is a senior and we just finished up our season. My youngest son Evan is a freshman so I'll have part two to this blog in a few years.
This year I had two firsts. I had a Senior night as a Coach/Father and I also gave that last game speech in the same roles. Senior night is a touchy topic for some because we preach "Team First" all year then one night we change how we do things to honor Individuals. If you're interested in how we do our senior night you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every season ends with tears for every team but one. That's the brutal truth about athletics. The finality. There are two things you don't get back up from: Death & your last game as a Senior. I told my Seniors I hoped that today (3/2/18) was the worst day of their lives...because that meant they were going to live really blessed lives.
Coaching your child is challenging but rewarding. I feel like I do a good job of separating the two roles. I have a "Stop sign rule". I stop being Coach White at the Stop sign and I'm Dad to them off campus. Now, if they bring up basketball all bets are off and they know that.
Here are the three things I learned this season about Coaching my Son.
1. He isn't Perfect
Looking back, Hayden took a lot of "cussing and discussing" throughout his career that wasn't his fault. Mainly, because he has an extremely high basketball IQ so I expected him to never make a mistake. The positive side of that was it allowed me to coach our teams harder because they saw how I coached him. The negative was he had a shorter leash than most players. If I could go back and change things I wouldn't be as hard on him.
2. He has to live with the last name
2 years ago we made the decision to change jobs. We were moving to a larger classification. Hayden was giving up the chance to play a major role for 2 seasons to be a smaller part of a bigger picture. The unfair thing for your child in this profession is he is always "the Coach's kid" just like you are always "Coach ____". I've said before, the only professions that you can't hide from are Coach, Pastor, Doctor and President. Why does everyone expect the Coach's kid to be a star because their Parent is the Coach? Do you expect a Surgeon's child to be able to perform surgery just because of their parent?
Hayden was a good, smart player. He likes basketball. He doesn't love it and that's okay. We both knew going in what that meant. The pressure the Coach's kid is under isn't fair.
3. He knows I love him away from the game
It is so sad for me to watch parents in the crowd. I'm convinced that most of the problems in today's game are caused by the pride of parents. I'm proud of Hayden regardless of points per game, minutes played or anything game related. I enjoy watching him have success in the game but what he has learned from the game is what I am the most proud of.
He's unselfish. He gave up a lot for our family to make a move.
He's a servant. He understands that is how you lead.
He's trustworthy. He knows the boundaries and never crosses them.
I'm hoping that in 3 years I'm able to take the lessons learned from coaching one Son and make the experience better for the second one.