After the last game of the season Coach Smith approached me on the sidelines. He shared similar feedback about Tommy with Doc and I and then he really surprised me. He asked, “Will you coach with me next year?”
Never short on words I responded very eloquently with … “Huh?”
Coach? Me? I am an extreme introvert. I have played team sports (close to twenty years ago) but never coached. I know very little of the intricacies of coaching. I know very little of coaching theory. I know very little of basketball rules and regulations, X’s and O’s, proper positioning and so forth. I simply love my son and wanted him to get a “win”.
So considering all I don’t know and realizing that the next season doesn’t start for another 10 months (enough time for us all to have forgotten about this conversation) I respond …
“I will definitely consider coaching with you Jim. It could be a lot of fun.”
Needless to say I did not sleep that night. All I thought about was the sheer terror of me stepping outside my comfort zone to coach.
And that was my introduction to coaching. This is how IT all started. Teaching my son to box out led me down the pathway to coaching. The way I see it my son got me a job, a job that does not pay a nickel, but a job nonetheless … one of the most important jobs there is. One I am most proud of.
Pathway to coaching for the first time
Fast forward 9 months…Tommy brings home a Gorham recreation form which shows that it is once again time to sign up for boys’ recreational basketball. And guess what? Tommy had such a fun season last year he wants to play again. Yes! Absolutely wonderful. He has continued to practice. To learn the game. To grow. And to love the game.
And who could remember a 2 minute conversation 9 months ago about coaching? No worries. Let’s sign the paperwork, send it in to the Gorham Rec Department and look forward to another fun season of watching Tommy do something he very much enjoys and does so very well.
George Orwell was right
Now how did he find me? How did Coach Smith get my E-mail address? George Orwell, how did you know?
Shortly after Tommy submitted his form to play basketball again I received an E-mail from Coach Smith. He reiterated his request that I help him coach the boys’ basketball team this year.
What is he an elephant? (Elephants never forget, right?)
Reading the E-mail I felt the same panic I had felt 9+ months prior. No way! I cannot coach! I don’t want to coach! I have never coached. I know very little of the intricacies of coaching. I know very little of coaching theory. I know very little of basketball rules and regulations, X’s and O’s, proper positioning and so forth. And parents? What about those stories I read about parents? I don’t want to have to deal with that! I don’t know how to deal with that! No way! There has got to be a good excuse for why I cannot, why I should not, and why I would not coach.
Looking in the mirror I had to admit to myself. I was scared. Scared of failing; scared of looking foolish; scared of being humiliated; scared of not being able to help these boys; scared of losing and being blamed; scared of dealing with parents; scared of embarrassing my son; scared of embarrassing my family; and unfortunately most importantly to me at that time scared of embarrassing myself. I simply love my son and wanted him to get a “win”. Why do I have to grow and mature and work through my own issues and growing edges? And why do I have to do so in public?
What did I do to deserve this?
So of course I replied to Jim’s E-mail with a resounding … “Yes, I am happy to help coach.”
I must be an idiot. I cannot do this! Someone please help me. God help me. I am in way over my head.
TO BE CONTINUED …