Father’s Day Thoughts: My Dad’s Role in RECF
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try tons of different sports. Baseball, basketball, ice hockey, swim team, diving, soccer, roller hockey, and probably half a dozen other’s I’ve forgotten over the years.
For many of those sports, my dad was the team coach. I remember being coached by my dad in baseball, basketball, and hockey for sure. He’s always had a teacher’s mindset, and a lot of my athletic abilities I have today are from intentional time he spent with me helping me learn and move and play when I was a kid.
I remember sitting at the top of the basement stairs when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. Dad would stand at the bottom, and we’d practice playing catch one-handed with a tennis ball. “Hand-eye coordination!” he would say with a smile. I had no idea what he was talking about at the time, nor could I say the phrase “hand-eye coordination” yet. But I had fun, Dad had fun, and he helped me develop valuable physical skills that would serve me in my sports adventures for years to come. And he demonstrated what patient coaching looks like.
I remember being coached by Dad playing baseball in 1st grade (and then again in men’s rec softball in high school!). I can remember his phrases he would use to help us learn how to hit better. “Turn on it! Use the hips!” Little did I know 20 years later I would be teaching people how to use their hips to generate power almost every single day, in the gym.
I remember my dad coaching my 5th grade C Squirt hockey team. Hockey wasn’t really in my dad’s wheelhouse — he had played some as a kid, but not nearly as much as baseball and basketball. But he did it anyway, because there wasn’t anyone else to do it. We were terrible, as most C Squirt teams are, through no fault of my dad’s. I don’t think I had enough appreciation for how much time my he must have spent figuring out how to run practices and teach hockey skills to kids, when he hadn’t played since he was basically our age. He showed me that it’s OK to take on big challenges, and it’s OK to not know the exact answer all the time.
Hockey turned out to be the sport I enjoyed the most. Somehow, despite a limited budget (Dad was a pastor at the time), every season my parents got me signed up and geared up to play. They got one of those giant canvas tarps with a hockey goal on it, with a sheet of plexiglass for me to shoot pucks from in the driveway. They sent me to hockey camps, summer training programs, and drove me all over creation. Again, I don’t think I understood until I was a little older how big of a financial and time commitment all this was. Looking back now, I am so incredibly appreciative of all the time and energy and money they put into helping me pursue my passions.
They still do this, and I’m 32! My parents are founding members at the gym. Instead of my dad coaching me, I get to coach him. Now I get to help my dad hone his weightlifting technique, encourage him during rowing intervals, remind him to use those hips during kettlebell swings, and be incredibly proud when he hits a new personal best.
It’s a rare gift to be able to return the favor like that, and it’s one I’m very grateful for. My dad showed be how to be a coach throughout my whole childhood. He and my mom showed me what support, patience, and motivation looks like. Coaching has been in my blood since I was a kid, I just didn’t know it at the time.
My love for coaching other humans in movement, my desire to help people become their best selves, my entrepreneurial spirit, and my willingness to take on tasks that seem too big at the time, are all things I can attribute at least in part to my dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, aspiring dads, former dads, and father figures out there. Never underestimate the power of a positive role model. Keep showing up for your loved ones, and good things will happen.