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Coaching is like fatherhood, only with less diaper changes

Nick Shepherd • Oct 24, 2016 at 12:50 PM

I love coaching sports.

Since my daughter was born in 2010, I have patiently waited for the time I would be able to coach her in a sport. My opportunity finally came last year when she showed an interest in soccer.

We signed her up at the Boys and Girls Club in Johnson City, and I signed up to coach her team. I had never coached before, and I never really played soccer, but I was up for the challenge. I knew I was out of my element when I went to a coaches clinic and realized soccer is a lot more complicated than I thought.

Needless to say, I was not very successful in my first run as a head coach. Our team (the Cubs) went 0-4-1. Not a single win the whole season and by the end of it, a couple of kids stopped showing up all together. I felt like a failure.

I had no plans to try my hand at coaching again until my stepson called me in August and asked if I'd be interested in helping him coach his son's football team. The league is in Church Hill and consists of three teams. I jumped at the chance. Not only to coach again, but to coach a sport I know and love. I grew up playing football, so I felt more prepared for this challenge.

We started the season off by holding a draft of sorts, where all the kids names were put up on a board and split between three teams. Coaches then drew a random number out of a hat and that number became our team. At the meeting we also selected what the name of our team would be. We chose the Falcons.

We held our first practice on a hot September day. It took me a while to get down all the kids names. There were 16 boys on our team, each with their own unique personality. But all were there to play football and to learn this great game.

Over the next few weeks, as we practiced four days a week, I would get to know the boys. I've become very attached to them over the short period of time we've known each other. I root for them to succeed and feel terrible when we lose (because it is my responsibility to put them in a position to win).

I became so enamored with coaching football that I signed up to coach my daughter's basketball team, even though I'm in the same boat with basketball that I was with soccer.

Our football team ended the season 2-2, winning and losing once to the other two teams. We have a playoff game and then a championship game if we can win the first game. I hope we can make it because I want nothing more than for those boys to be champions.

But whatever the outcome, my life has been made immensely better by coaching those boys.

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