I admire my son-in-law Dusty Clark. Don't let him know that. It might shift the balance of power in the family.
The balance is pretty simple. Abram Henry (the oldest grandchild) is in charge. He is the only grandchild that can really talk. We will have a change in the next year as Atticus Hatcher and Harley Michael develop language skills.
Then it is the women in the family. My wife Becky is really in charge even though she doesn't say a lot in family decisions. The two girls, Lake and Hannah, do all of the talking.
Then it is the three men. Jeff, Dusty and Mark. If you don't believe that we are not in charge, just wait until Halloween. You will see the true balance of power in our family.
Back to Dusty. Dusty has teaching certification. He is a football and wrestling coach and more important an American history teacher.
Dusty went back to school after having a child to receive advance collegiate degrees. Yes, degrees. He worked very hard for those degrees. He spent many, many hours away from his family to receive those.
He was a very proud dad when he posed for photos with Abram Henry.
Choosing to be a coach means that a person is going to sacrifice. During football season, that means that a person is working seven-days a week for the betterment of the team.
There are football games three nights a week, not all of them are at home. All of them do occur during the night to take these people away from their family.
I know Lake puts her wild and crazy boys to bed many nights without them seeing their father.
Coaches spend more time with your son than you do each day. They are the examples that young men see day in and day out.
Coaches hold a very important place in the development of your athletes — a very important place.
Are they perfect? Most will say yes, but they know that they are not.
Do they want to win? All of them will say yes.
Every coach will put the players on the field or the court that will give the team the best chance to win. They will pull the right strings to win the game.
As parents, we have to trust the coach to win the game. As parents and fans, our job is to encourage the team. That is it.
We are to encourage the young men that are on the field representing our community and schools. That encouragement may come in the form of buying discount cards, frozen cookie dough (I found two boxes the other day that are at least eight years old in the deep freeze), picking up the postgame pizzas and cheering for the team from the stands.
Cheering can either be done with the leadership of the young people on the sidelines or when the team makes good plays.
Notice in all of the options that were mentioned, the term coaching the team was not mentioned. It was not even a thought of this writer. It should not be a thought of a parent or football fan.
Plain and simple, leave the coaching to the coaches.
Yelling at the coaches from the stands is not helping the team. It is a distraction for the team. Anything that keeps 15-, 16- and 17-year old boys from thinking about the game is a distraction. Teams need to be completely focused on the game and not worrying about what is going on in the stands. Period.
There is no exception to this.
The coaches will do their best to put the best players on the field for the situation. They have worked all week on a game plan. The coaches have watched their opponent play four or five games. They have watched each of these games three or four times. They know what the tendencies are for each team in each situation. The teams are prepared.
As a stands coach, have you seen the opponent other than year before last and last year when you went to the game? Did you keep your detailed notes from those games?
I am guessing the answer is no.
As a stands coach, there are ways to make it to the sidelines to coach the game. First, get a degree in education. This will require basically four-years in college — more or less. It will require a semester of student teaching, but this internship may not be during the football season. You may be with the track team.
If you have a college degree, the state department of education has a program that allows graduates to go back and get education certifications. This usually takes meeting for two years on the weekends.
Coaches coach to win. Fans are there to support the team. Let's not get the two roles confused.