Happy Father’s Day to all the dads. I myself am thankful to hold that title near and dear to my heart. My little mini me is the man. As much as I would love to talk about him, I want to give some love to the man who’s penis I inhabited from. At least I think so…just kidding. We look exactly alike.
My dad is one of a kind. That is for sure. I probably argue with him more than anyone else but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There are plenty of great things I say about him and many titles he holds as father. But one that I love is coach.
Bob has spent most of his career as an industrial salesman traveling, but he always put forth the effort to see me play or coach. He coached me in soccer for a few years until I retired.
Throughout my sports playing days, he would typically be an assistant when he could. Once I turned 14, travel schedule was lighter and he decided to sign up as a head coach. He has references, mainly my friends.
He’s a fucking legend, period. I play in a basketball league and when I busted my eye and couldn’t play the next week and we won, two of my teammates who played for him mentioned me in the same breath as him in terms of our coaching resumes. I of course gleamed with pride.
Some of my best days were spent playing for him and I can remember them vividly. How can you not when you’re winning so much.
The man coached 4 seasons and has 3 championships and second place finish. Pretty damn good if you ask me. Granted, the second place finish was out of 4 teams. We threw those medals away. Fuck participation trophies at 19 years old.
The best and most memorable season that we still talk about is my final year in 13-14. We finished 23-0-1.
Yes, we tied. It was the one game he couldn’t make. I did not want to make that call after the game to let him know. Not because I was scared. Not because he would flip his shit. He and I are just both competitive and I didn’t want to break the bad news that our undefeated streak was snapped.
Hey, no biggie, we went on to win the championship. The best part was it was against my old coach and his son who I am also still friends with. If you’re reading this, suck it!
We won the game 7-6 and I pitched a complete game. One of the things I loved about playing for my dad later in life is he wasn’t a dictator as a coach. He actually listened to his players and not just me. Before I tell you this short story, this isn’t a situation of “oh he’s just the coach’s son.” My dad has no problem calling a spade a spade when it comes to me. So if I sucked, he would let me know.
I had pitched 6 innings. We get into the dugout and I had logged 100 pitches already. He knew I was losing gas which I was never a power pitcher. I threw a lot of junk and knew how to spot my fastballs. He said he was going to pull me and I just looked at him and said I wanted to finish. He saw the look I had on my face that pretty much said “the fuck you are.”
He said well finish it then and if you walk anyone, I am pulling you. I wound up giving up a double in that inning. He let me go and I wound up finishing the game for the W and championship.
Victory never felt so damn good.
To prove I am not the only he gave head room to. One of the guys on my 15-19 team wanted to steal home because the pitcher was going from the windup. He asked my dad at 3rd to which my dad said, if you can make it, go for it.
He just knew how to let us play. I always appreciated that.
More importantly, one of the things I love about myself (as arrogant as that sounds), I know how to take a loss. That is in large part to him and my mom.
I was a little bit of bitch growing up. I always wanted to quit if things didn’t go my way or how I expected. I played baseball in middle school and high school. I absolutely hated both. I wanted to quit middle school ball almost immediately. High School ball, I wanted to throw in the towel before the season even started sophomore year.
Both times, they both said finish. I am not letting you quit because you hate it. You started it. You can do what you want after. But, you will finish.
The same rang true when I tried tackle football.
As sophomore year of high school wears on, an opportunity came up to announce softball games for my high school. Nothing paid. Nothing extravagant. But it was an opportunity to do PA work.
I remember hearing it on the morning announcements and thinking to myself well damn, I want to but I can’t because of baseball. From the time I was 9 or 10, I wanted to be a sportscaster. I went home and told my mom about it. She said make sure it is cool with dad. He was out of town. So I called him up and told him about it.
I was honestly terrified because I didn’t want to let him down. To my surprise, he told me to take the opportunity. He told me I know you’re not having fun with baseball and this is a something that can benefit you so do it. You’re leaving for a good reason. You’re not leaving just for the sake of leaving.
Hindsight, that is a great lesson to take away. Sometimes jobs in life will suck, you can’t just up and quit because it will have consequences. If there is an opportunity somewhere else, shoot your shot.
Well, I did. I loved it. I had fun with it.
So to Bob…
Thanks for raising me to eat shit and know how to take losses off the chin. Thanks for teaching me to push through when things are tough. Most importantly thanks for being there and giving me some of the best year of my life with sports. At 28, I am still playing and it’s because you made sports fun for me.
The best part is you made sports fun for all of us. Here is what some of your former players had to say…
Bob loved the game and set us up for success. Always enjoyed playing for him as he was straightforward and was a competitor. Hard to come across coaches that play to win the game vs just making parents/players happy. Bob is the goat. – Parker
He watched my technique while I was hitting and took the time to give me feedback on what I could do differently. He’s one of the few people I can ever remember actually critiquing me and helping me improve rather than just saying “good job” or “do better next time”. It was encouraging to have someone who cared enough to help every single player improve their game, regardless of whether or not that player was one of the star players. I noticed that about him. That instills confidence in a kid to know that someone cares enough to watch what they do and tell them how to do it better. Kids know if they’re good or not. What they don’t always know is if they actually have the ability or knowledge to improve to play to their fullest potential. I can say I remember Bob helping me to see blind spots so I had a fighting chance at doing that. And that advice came from him without me having to come ask him for it. – Nick B.
Champion. A man among men. Leader of Leaders. – Justin
Bob was a great coach because he never did too much. He recognized each person’s talent and used it to get Ws. We always knew he had our back and he was always transparent with us, even at a young age. – Manny
Thanks for being dad. Thanks for being coach. Thanks for being a friend. Thanks for being everything a guy needs in a father and more. Happy Father’s Day. Here’s two claps and Ric Flair for you.