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Football and Life Lessons

by Ronald A. Rowe | November 11th, 2011 | Elementary, Helpful Hints

It’s one of those things that everyone knows but no one really comes out and says out loud. The coach’s son gets to be the quarterback. Not always. If there’s another player who is much, much better, he’ll usually get the job. But if it’s anywhere close, the coach’s kid gets to play the position. That’s just the way it is. Honestly, that’s probably 30% of my motivation for coaching the teams for both of my sons.

Some days I question that wisdom. It’s hard work. It sucks up all my free time. There are days when I wonder if it’s worth it. Would it be better to let the boys stand on their own with an impartial coach (or more realistically, a coach who is partial to his son and not mine)?

Then a day like last Saturday comes along and I know I’m doing the right thing. Saturday both my five year-old and my ten year-old found themselves in exactly the same position. Playing quarterback, near the goal line, and Coach Dad called a play that just wasn’t going to get the job done. In the case of the older boy, the defense read the play and had the receiver blanketed. In the case of the younger, the intended receiver lost interest and wandered off toward his mommy (oh, the joys of coaching the 4-6 year old set).

In both cases, my son saw a better option, took it, and threw a touchdown pass (the first ever for the five-year-old). There is a point I’m going for besides just using this column as a platform to brag on my boys. There is something representative of our whole parenting journey in the way they took everything that I’ve taught them and stepped out on their own to make their own decisions. We can prepare them for the decisions that they will face in life. We can teach them right from wrong and give them the guidelines and parameters they will need. But at some point we need to step out of the huddle and let them be their own person.

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