Back in the day, you could handle the rock.
You could go coast to coast with your left hand. You could rain three-pointers from the rafters. You could talk at length about the intricacies of the triangle offense or the merits of man-to-man vs. zone. You were also 6’8″ and came “this close” to making it in the NBA if it wasn’t for that trick elbow (or so you tell your kids – even though now you’re 5’9″ in your stocking feet).
And now, you just know that your kid will be the next Michael Jordan. And you’re just the man to get him there. You sign up to be a coach at your local rec center. You have your whistle. You have your clip board. You have your practice plan – complete with gassers and all those drills you saw run in the movie Hoosiers. You are The Man. You will soon be coaching live games, dressed in your red sweater, working the 15-year-old referee who is out to get you and you know you can throw a chair or two for emphasis if needed. You just know that you will lead your team of pint-sized prepubescent underachievers to the league championship and then everyone will know that you are the greatest coach ever to walk the hardwood.
But then, hopefully before you first put your under 7 team through a workout that involves copious amounts of puking, your wife (as wives are wont to do) slaps some sense into you. “They’re only SEVEN! For crissakes, Bobby Knight, lighten up! You’re volunteering!”
And that’s the whole point, right? I mean, good for you for volunteering your time! What kid wouldn’t love to have his father so involved in his or her interests? You are to be commended for donating your precious time to give kids a great experience. But remember… this is for the kids. You are there to teach them, not only sports skills, but character as well. How to lose graciously and, just as important, how to win with honor.
You can do it. I know you can. Now get out there and volunteer!
Just leave the red sweater at home.