Steady Pace or All Out: What Works Best?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Life is awesome around here.

Maybe too awesome?

To this, you might say, “careful what you wish for.” It’s not like I wish they’d catch Bill Bellichick with a video camera again. Or Amber Heard would wander into the Red Ventures café with a whole pizza and nowhere to sit but my lonely table for two.

I just know life is comfortable on my blog.

Continue reading “Steady Pace or All Out: What Works Best?”

The NFL: Nothing to Lose Your Head Over

photo credit: number657 via photopin cc
photo credit: number657 via photopin cc

A one-year contract. One million dollars.

Sometimes, a Go Ask Daddy question takes on a life of its own. Grace asked if I would play in the NFL for $1 million, one season. I dreamed of it as a boy. I drew pictures of my jersey as a boy. I practiced my slow-motion touchdown runs for NFL films as a boy.

And I’d do anything for my kids, you know.

I’ll take on the dangerous (fight a tiger, brave bullets, eat salad). I’ll grapple the profane (wear a dodgers cap, red wings sweater or lakers jacket, under threat of imminent danger.) The girls know there’s no limit to dad’s love.

Continue reading “The NFL: Nothing to Lose Your Head Over”

Go Ask Daddy About Topless Attire, Crunchy Seafood and 2-Point Conversions

tv
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

It’s tough to find something easy to watch on TV with the kids.

GAD GRAPHICJust last night, the fight ensued over the Wii remote. We barked angry words back and forth about content and themes and age-appropriateness. Merlin pilots, which open with an impending beheading? Not ideal for 9-year-olds.

Last Man Standing? Great theme (dad of three girls!) but chock full of shock-value one-liners about sex, sex, sex.

Garfield’s Funfest makes the big girls’ eyes roll. An episode – no, during a 17-second period – of Jessie during dinner will make me hurl, guaranteed.

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy About Topless Attire, Crunchy Seafood and 2-Point Conversions”

What Happens When a Kid Seahawks Fan Becomes a Grown-up Broncos Fan

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Today, I have a special guest on Coach Daddy: Me.

Me, age 8, that is. A Seattle Seahawks fan. Today, we’re going to talk about the Super Bowl. You might have heard that my current favorite team, my home-state Denver Broncos, will face Seattle in the Super Bowl in less than a week.

I chose Seattle as my favorite team at age 6.

At age 15, when my family moved to North Carolina, I converted to a Broncos fan.

Continue reading “What Happens When a Kid Seahawks Fan Becomes a Grown-up Broncos Fan”

There Are No Days Like Snow Days

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Let me tell you about the Carolinas.

We have Cheerwine. Barbecue. A whole month to commemorate barbecue, in fact. If there isn’t a minor-league baseball team in your town, there’s one in the next. The mountains are that way, the beach the other. Right in the middle ain’t too bad, either.

Did I mention the barbecue?

The Carolinas are loaded with day trips: Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington north of the line, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston south of it. Mountain apples. Loucountry boil. And a good 12 months of grilling season. If it isn’t God’s country, it’s at least Jesus‘.

Continue reading “There Are No Days Like Snow Days”

Go Ask Daddy About Young Sluggers, Window Clubbers and Cheeseburger Lovers

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

With temperatures plummeting into the upper 20s here the Carolinas overnight, it’s hard sometimes to think about spring.

Unless the topic is baseball.

I know many people consider March Madness the sports world’s harbinger of spring, but to me, it’s that February time when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. And spring training is the main reason I wish I was a ballplayer (that, and the free lids).

I feel like I would have excelled as a spring training ball player.

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy About Young Sluggers, Window Clubbers and Cheeseburger Lovers”

🌪️ Go Ask Daddy About Tornado Creation, Deer Identification and Dinosaur Realization

early GAD lede
photo credit: Estudio Lateral via photopin (license)

“Dad,” Grace asked, “what’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen?”

GAD GRAPHICCamdyn has great timing when it comes to questions like this. I’d just watched Andrew Luck rush for a touchdown to give the Indianapolis Colts a monstrous lead against my Denver Broncos. At that moment, that was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.

Her question got me thinking.

I rounded up a post for the Wondering Brain. Jessica asked for Halloween week posts.

The best I could muster was a sad tale about the year I wanted to be a Denver Broncos player for Halloween, and my mom made me trick-or-treat in my Broncos pajamas.

Continue reading “🌪️ Go Ask Daddy About Tornado Creation, Deer Identification and Dinosaur Realization”

Sometimes, it’s Back to the Drawing Board – Even for the Coach

My heart didn’t give out Sunday night.

My deodorant definitely did.

See, when Matt Prater’s kick sailed through the uprights to give my Denver Broncos a stomach churning 51-48 victory against the Dallas Cowboys, my pulse could finally start a slow decline. For a coach, it’s sometimes tougher on the ticker to watch a team you love, but don’t coach.

What a weekend.

It included a day hot as skillet and packed with three straight soccer games. (Guess who wore a black polo shirt on the sideline for the 85-degree day?). Those three soccer games included:

  • A gritty 2-0 victory for Marie’s unbeaten Muleicorns (really their name!)
  • A 2-2 tie for Elise’s Dragons (with no substitutes for either team!)
  • A 7-1 loss for Grace’s Dynamite (against a team we beat 2-0 on opening day)

Emotionally drained and slightly sunburned at midnight Saturday, I watched my alma mater, UNC Charlotte, fall behind by 21 points in the fourth quarter in a game I DVRed, only to rally for 29 points in a 53-51 victory against nationally-ranked Gardner-Webb.

So, that’s 109-108, good guys, if you’re keeping track at home. (With goals from each of my girls!)

That luckily doesn’t include the pretend butt-kickin’ my fantasy team, the Sun City Skunk Kings, are currently enduring at the hands of my brother-in-laws’ team, the Steepleton Silverbacks.

Here’s the thing, though: This lineup isn’t unusual for a typical weekend.

As head coach to one soccer team, assistant to two more, owner of a fantasy team, supporter of an NFL team and alumnus of a school playing its first season of football, I’m used to tons of games between Saturday morning and Sunday night. Wins, losses, ties, goals and heartbreaks.

What I’m not used to is losing my cool.

My composure.

My perspective.

And my edge.

# # #

I’m the coach who says winning will take care of itself. Then, more times than not, wins anyway.

It’s years of experience. It’s always keeping the kids first, not just saying that’s what I believe. It’s an emphasis of effort over outcome, teamwork over titles. A love for your teammates. And the game. Don’t worry about what the opponent is doing, I say. Worry about what your team is.

But as goals piled up against Grace’s Dynamite … 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 … the coach who usually watches the game with arms folded, hand on a chin sometimes, processing, assessing, adjusting … well, he had nothing. Nothing but exasperation, frustration, and unflattering demonstration.

Not nearly enough imagination, explanation or affirmation.

As the Dynamite wilted in their pink jerseys under harsh sunrays and an opponent that sensed their weakness, my coaching philosophy shriveled, too. Lost were lessons to be found in adversity, that thought that a child’s mental musculature will flex when they’re tasked with finding a way to fight back.

Instead, I wrote them – and myself – off. At 2-0.

# # #

The discomfort of my degradation on field 1 that day lacked the clarity I needed to make sense of it, during, and immediately after.

When Grace, usually a wellspring of heart and scoring opportunities, asked to be taken out of the game, moved back to defense, I questioned her. “Why? What’s wrong with you?”

“Why won’t you help us?”

When Grace and her teammates retreated, flat-footed, as the spirited opponent beat them to every ball, I wondered out loud what was going on.

Why.are.we.walking?

The blue team isn’t walking!

“Dad,” Grace answered. “We’re walking because we’re tired.”

# # #

At halftime, I like to stand alone for a minute or two. Let the kids guzzle Gatorade and put away the Powerade, talk it over on their own, then join the fray and give a couple of points before the second half. This day, I stood on the field with my assistants, indignant, speechless, disconnected.

I don’t remember what we told the team, but they went out in the second half to a worsening outcome. I gritted my teeth. I walked away from the bench.

What can I do?

I gazed at the sky, wondering what dad must think of his son right now.

The team sat silent afterward, cookies and juice packs distributed.

Still, I had nothing.

I kept my eyes on the ground at my feet, the tension of parents and players waiting for answers, for hope, for perspective, for something.

“Bring it in,” I told my Dynamite. “I’ll see you at practice on Tuesday.”

Where was the knowledge? Where was the hope? Where were the words that could have given some indication I had an answer, a direction to turn, a way to make a lesson of the mess we left behind?

I imagined the coaches I admired most – Mike Shanahan, Bill Walsh, John Wooden. What would they have done?

UNC Charlotte coaches, when fate looked grim late in the game, told their players, “be at your best when your best is needed.” I could have said that to my Dynamite, right?

I could have listened to that advice, too.

# # #

This is youth soccer, after all. Not life or death.

But the lessons … I take them seriously.

The kids will forget the scores. They’ll forget the standings. What I hope is that 10, 20, 30 years from now, they’ll remember the lessons.

That’s why, as soon as I’m done writing here, I’ll open a fresh page on a tattered notebook. I’ll turn past notes from Saturday.

I’ll make a new plan.

With an old philosophy.

Because right now, it’s 0-0 again.

And I take heart in that.

5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About NFL Matchups, Mascot-Gender Checks and the Perks of Hotel Living

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

When the kids watch football with me, questions are inevitable.

Almost certainly one will be, “what’s for dinner?”

(That’s my girls.)

But when I plop a platter of wings or burgers in front of their hungry faces, they actually turn their attention to the game on the screen.

Continue reading “5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About NFL Matchups, Mascot-Gender Checks and the Perks of Hotel Living”

$ign here: Something to think about before you pay for an autograph

 

photo credit: andres musta via photopin cc
photo credit: andres musta via photopin cc

Poor Cam Newton.

Not poor Cam Newton. An NFL quarterback, with multi-year contracts and endorsement deals, cannot be called *poor*, unless he’s gambled his earnings away, or squandered them on wine, women and song, or left them in a Hefty bag in the backseat of a taxi cab.

Or if he’s torn a knee ligament just before the playoffs and can’t play. Then it’d be, “*poor* (insert quarterback’s name here – I don’t want to jinx anyone), he can’t play in the playoffs.”

Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers star quarterback, isn’t poor in any of those ways.

Continue reading “$ign here: Something to think about before you pay for an autograph”