Here’s a tribute to a great dad, my dad, that I wrote a few years ago, and it still holds true.
I am, by nature, competitive.
It might be that I’m that way because I was first girl in a string of 4 girls—with 6 years separating oldest from youngest. Or I might be this way because my family moved around a lot, so I had to compete for attention with kindergarten queens every time I went to a new school.
Or, maybe I’m competitive because my dad was a football coach who had 4 daughters. He taught us to throw spirals. We often played quarterback position, but I preferred to be a running back, and my second sister was really good at slipping through a defensive line. The boys used to ask for her, in particular, to come out and play football, even when only boys were playing; she had a great arm, too.
In fact, my dad taught a lot of kids to play football. One year, he trained a team of farmers’ sons how to play and then took them to the state championship and won it. One time a big kid broke my dad’s nose, because my dad was showing him how to snap the ball. And when Dad returned to a high school class reunion for those kids a few years ago, he was surrounded all evening by middle-aged men calling him “Coach.”
But I do know one thing. Being a coach’s kid taught me a lot—about football and about life. And I think that lessons learned from one game can be applied to the other:
- Sometimes you don’t get paid much, but if you love what you do, it doesn’t matter.
- No pain really does mean no gain.
- When you go the distance, you must “gut it out.”
- You have to throw the ball like a boy does. And when you throw it, aim it, for goodness sake.
- Kids, even the ones who are tough to coach, are gifts from God.
- If you knock someone down, help him up.
- Even if you’re losing, you’ve got to stay to finish the game.
- If you lose, pick yourself up and try again. Rerun old plays in your head and see what worked and what didn’t work.
- When you win, if you win, you must be humble and thankful.
And the 10th thing is this—I’m glad I was blessed with a dad who never, no never, said he’d rather have a son to play football than a daughter who tried to play football.