I have loved the game of football for as long as I can remember. In my memories, I see myself watching the Dallas Cowboys every Sunday with my dad, and using my Roger Staubach action figure to reenact each throw of the game. I lived and died by the result of the game. I remember being five years old, and watching the NFC Championship game in the First Baptist fellowship hall, and being destroyed when Joe Montana completed the pass to Dwight Clark, forever to be known as “The Catch”. Even with that traumatic event, I still loved football.
As I grew into a teenager, I looked forward to the opportunity to play padded football for the first time. I joined the 7th grade team as a receiver and defensive back. My position coach was also my 6th grade social studies teacher, and I thought that was awesome. I started the season on the A team because I knew my plays. Eventually my genetics caught up with me, and I ended the season on the B team. I didn’t care. I was playing the game that I grew up loving. Our coaches were outstanding men, especially Coach Siebert, whom I count among my biggest influences on my career still to this day.
High school brought about new challenges, but also new lessons. During my freshman year, little did I know that the coach and the staff who would influence the direction my life took came to town. Coach Scott Phillips, Thomas Brooks, David Yowell, Danny Lauve, Ricky Sargent, and Tony Valastro are all men I love and try to emulate in my coaching. These men taught instilled in me the values of discipline, togetherness, and loyalty. In short, I believed in everything they stood for and told us we were capable of achieving. And at the end of my high school career, it paid off with a Texas state football championship. Our work, our family togetherness, and the love we shared from the bond of football was rewarded. It is a feeling that I would love to share with my own athletes one day. It is also a reminder of how special each year is when we do not.
Now I am privileged to share the game of football and the lessons I have learned with the young people and coaches I work with every day. I love that football has served as the medium through which I can make this connection. Football has also served as a catalyst to inspire in me the search for more. More styles of playing the game, more connections to people, and more methods of instruction that would impact not only my athletes, but my students and colleagues.
Coaching is like the difference between ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. Coaching is a commitment that intertwines every aspect of your life. I am a better husband and father because of coaching, but I am also a better coach because I am a husband and father. My love for my family overflows into my love for my students and athletes, and friends. I consider them all my family. Football has provided me this family.
Even within all of this resides the original fan of the game of football. I love watching a game on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The ebbs and flows as the outcome unfolds on the field. I love being devoted to my teams, win or lose, there’s always next year. I love walking out of the locker room, onto the sideline and hearing the commotion of fans, the sound of the band, and cheers that erupt when the teams take the field. Seeing teams rise to the occasion, and put all of their hard work from the previous week on the field, and leave it knowing they competed at their highest level. And I love the celebration of football that ends each season. Sure, it would be great if my Cowboys were there, but that doesn’t change my interest and excitement for the day. The game of football deserves this massive send off each year because it provides so much joy and community for the coaches, players, and fans alike.
Football brings tremendous joy, and brings legends of the game to tears. You don’t spend your life in this game and not come away empty.
That’s why I love football.