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 four girls—with six 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 four daughters. He taught us to throw spirals. We often played quarterback position in our neighborhood games, 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 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 tenth 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.
Let’s Do This!
August 4, 2021
Note: On the day that my dad found out that he needed to be intubated in order to even have a chance to live a little while longer, he told my dear sister (who is an ER nurse), “Let’s do this!” That’s the attitude we must strive to achieve, even when times are tough and we are looking at death eye-to-eye.
Thanks, again, Dad.