On Mon., Oct. 28, I hold my first practice for my seventh season coaching basketball through the Alsip (Ill.) Park District, a record of longevity, if not success, that makes me the league’s Jim Boeheim. This is a result of me having three kids go through the program (with one to go, if she’s interested). It’s also a matter of me really having a great time coaching kids, my own and others.
On this blog, I write a lot about the craziness of youth sports, including all the junk coaches take, justifiably or not. But for the most part, coaching my son, daughter and son was a great joy, despite the amount of work involved for a volunteer side job.
At one point, I admit, it did all seem to be too much. In 2010, I wrote a piece called “Why I Coach (?)”, which appeared in the middle of my toughest season since I picked up a whistle for the first time, coaching my oldest son in his Oak Lawn (Ill.) Park District second-grade basketball league in 2004. It was my youngest son’s 7-year-old baseball league, and things just didn’t click. It didn’t seem like I was jelling with the players, and I certainly wasn’t with many of their parents. I thought maybe I was burned out. I felt bad because after the season, my son wasn’t interested in playing baseball again. I felt like the experience, and my leadership of it, turned him off. I figured my coaching days were done.