Punk Rock Jock

I promised my Dad I wouldn’t write about him anymore. But here’s the thing – he is the star of most of my life stories, and I’m a liar. He can’t even really be mad because he’s the one who taught me to lie. He taught me to tell a good story, and sometimes that means the truth is a little fluid. So sorry Old Man, but the readers love you, and when you have been raised by Peter Pan, there are no rules. I will stick to the good stuff though and not talk about you almost dying four months ago. That’s totally off limits (for now!!)…

My kid is an athlete. This is kind of weird for my husband and myself because we have never been particularly gifted in this area. I played lacrosse and field hockey as a kid only because I had to at school and in the 7th grade I was politely asked to leave the team after I walloped one of my own teammates with a lacrosse stick. I’m not going to say this was a good move, but she had it coming. From there I moved to sports with wheels, picking up speed skating at the roller rink and then skateboarding.

Me not being an All-American was by no means due to lack of trying on my dad’s part. I vividly recall the Old Man dragging me out of bed at the butt crack of dawn on Saturdays in the 4th or 5th grade to go play basketball with some professional basketball player who was running clinics because his kid was in school with me. I hated those Saturdays. I think my dad was disappointed because he was an athlete, and basketball was one of the man games he knew well. He had also been shooting hockey pucks at me since I could stand up on my own and I had my first football as a teething toy while I was still in a baby walker. The man wanted an athlete to pass his skills onto and I was just never going to fill his cleats.

The Old Man gets his do-over with my mini-me who is a stelar athlete. She’s focused, smart on the field or court and accurate as hell. The only thing she lacks as an athlete is aggression, which is a little ironic since I birthed her. She plays lacrosse, field hockey, and the Old Man’s favorite basketball. At the end of field hockey season the buzz at school was there were no basketball coaches. Last year all of the middle school teams were coached by a college team. This was great except all of the games and practices revolved around the coaches’ games and the schedule was a hot mess. I think the parents were a little annoyed with this lack of consistency. Two weeks before the start of the season, there was one coach for three teams. That is until I got a call from the Old Man asking if the position was still open. Somehow at 75 years old he is ready to become Phil Jackson. I contacted the athletic director who said they would love to have my dad coach. He started a week later, which was about the time I began to lose my mind.

Here are the highlights of the coaching experience….

  • My Dad doesn’t have an e-mail address so he uses my mom’s which she checks once a week and is full of coupons and spam. I had to direct all of his e-mails to one of my e-mail addresses so he didn’t miss anything.
  • The Old Man had to complete a bunch of trainings on CPR, allergies, concussions, etc… which means I also learned all of these skills while I sat with Mr. Technology while he talked to the computer like it was Alexa. That is 10 hours of my life I’ll never get back…
  • The girls all learned that their cores are not nearly as strong as they thought while they watched a 75 year old lie on the floor doing leg raises and scissor kicks.
  • The Old Man is almost deaf and couldn’t remember names so he fairly consistently called the players by the wrong name and then couldn’t hear them when they corrected him. He told all of the girls to correct him when he called them by the wrong name, but I don’t know how well it worked, nor does he since he couldn’t hear a word they said. 
  • Sarcasm is a language we speak in my family. My Dad speaks it fluently. Unfortunately, only about 5 of his players understood him when he said things like “you’re a point guard, not a a linebacker” or “you can defend her, but you can’t mug her”. 
  • The Old Man knows that learning by failing is the best way to learn so he set the girls up to fail in practice a lot. He gave them a play and watched while they all tried to play the game solo and work themselves into a corner and then made them do it over and over again until they followed his direction. The team actually played like a team by the middle of the season which is the first time I had seen these girls do that in three years.

The girls didn’t win a single game. It was not for lack of skill or effort, they somehow ended up playing teams that were two years older than them and a foot taller. They did learn a lot, not only about technique, but about playing hard, not taking themselves too seriously, and never giving up, even if they have to restart your heart three times at the free throw line.  

I wrote this while listening to some good old fashioned punk rock shamrocks…