Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I can't tell you how many times I hear this a day at football practice.
When you're coaching a team of 6 and 7 yr olds, it's to be expected. It's almost like a kid who follows his mother in a store and won't stop calling her name...(Mommie, Mommie, Mommie). Nevertheless, their chants have become music to to my ears. I'm used to it now.
As many of you know, I played football from the age of 8 through college at South Carolina State University. What you don't know is that I had NO ambitions in being a coach on Kameron's team. I wanted no parts of coaching. Can't really explain why. I guess I felt it'd be difficult to convey my thoughts, passion, and desire to another individual. Especially a kid.
Little did I know how rewarding coaching would be. We're 4-0 right now. More than the wins, I've enjoyed being out there with Kameron and his teammates. I remember when the head coach asked me if I would be a part of his staff. I wanted to say no but I'm glad that I did. Not only has it re-united me with my first love (football) but it has given me a chance to give back. I remember years ago when my Dad told me that I needed to find away to give back to my community and be an influence on the youth. That's easier said than done when you're working all the time and you have your OWN kids to raise. I knew what Dad meant, though. When you grow up, you take something from your neighborhood/community. It's your obligation to give something back. That's not an option for me. It's a must.
Through coaching these little boys, I'm able to communicate and be a living example for kids like Peanut...who's mother is on drugs; or Javante...who's a little slower than the other kids socially...or Dylan...who is very shy away from football but lights up when we're on the field. In me, these kids see something that they may not see every day...a strong black male role model. Everyday I make sure that I interact with every kid on the team. I ask them about school and I tease them. I just try to let them know that I care. For some of these kids, the odds are against them. I know that. I try to give them another perspective...even at the age of 6 or 7.
I remember when I played football as a kid how my teammates loved my Dad. He was my coach for my little league years. As I grew up, those guys would always ask about my Dad. If they saw him around town, they'd great him with a handshake or a hug. He had that kind of influence on them. Much like me, he interacted with them and teased them. More importantly, he let them know that he cared. To this day...when I see the guys now...they still ask about me about my Dad.
Years later, history is repeating itself.
Hey Coach don't sound bad at all!