When my husband, Kim, and I married eight years ago, we shared some unexpected joys. Kim’s love of football is one of them. He has been an assistant coach at McDowell, Central and General McLane over the years. Football is in his blood and mine too. I grew up as the daughter of the late Walt Strosser, who coached at Prep and Tech.
While coaches often bring their work home, they also bring home some heartfelt tales of play, playmakers’ accomplishments and sideline and locker-room humor. So when Kim shared that one of the McDowell players asked him, “Coacher-man-dude, what’s for grub today?” the family got a laugh.
Now, any athlete will tell you that addressing your coach in that fashion is not a good idea, but it was a reminder that kids are kids. And the fun of the sport, any sport, is often revealed between plays and off the field.
Tomorrow, the McDowell Trojans and Prep Ramblers will face off at McDowell’s Gus Anderson field in the first official game of the season, and it’s always a hotly contested event. It’s sure to be analyzed for weeks to come.
All of our kids have grown past their high-school years, so I can enjoy the game and its pageantry without nail-biting at every snap of the ball. But I have to watch where I sit. Coaches’ wives can’t sit among particularly vocal parents who are not so friendly to the coaches. Instead, this wife rotates through the friendly members of the crowd and even onto the opposing side where we have friends among the coaches, players and fans.
During the game, it’s kids playing a game on that field. They’re not professional athletes. Their days are filled with schoolwork and all the social mishaps of high school. They’ll make mistakes on and off their fields of dreams because that’s what kids do. As a parent of athletes who played nearly every sport but polo, I recall the best advice I ever received was to applaud their every endeavor and offer encouraging words because we all know they have plenty of folks to correct them and give them a tongue lashing about mistakes.
Even though none of our kids are involved in a high-school game, that advice to be a parent still comes in handy for me and my coacher-man-dude.