There’s a theory out there in the annals of “daddom” that the lifecycle of fathering can be loosely characterized by three major phases; Dad as Coach, Dad as Counselor, and Dad as Consultant. Over the next few posts, I’m going to break these down and look a little bit deeper into each of these “job descriptions.”
Motivational. Inspirational. Teaching. Leadership. These are just a few of the adjectives that capture the essence of being a great coach. I love sports so when I hear the word “coach”, my mind is immediately filled with some of the great coaches in sports history. Guys like Vince Lombardi, George “The Gipper” Gipp, or the legendary George Halas. Then there’s always a local lore that brings my mind back to coaches of my favorite teams. Coaches like Bud Grant of the once dominant (never Super Bowl winning) Minnesota Vikings, Billy Martin of the Minnesota Twins or Murray Warmath of Gopher football fame. No matter who comes to mind for you, every successful coach possesses these traits.
Coaches are motivational. Some of the greatest speeches ever uttered have been shared in the locker room of college and professional sports teams.
Inspiration oozes from their presence. There is a charisma about great coaches that spills onto their teams and allows them to rise above the challenges (well, most of them-Bud Grant was a great coach but a little on the stoic side). Sometimes, that inspiration elevates the team to levels they couldn’t have achieved through pure effort and talent. It’s what Simon Cowell of American Idol calls the “X” factor.
Great coaches are also great teachers. They understand the game and they know how to drill the basics into their teams. Vince Lombardi’s infamous coaching admonition at the beginning of camp each year to his players is a classic example of teaching the basics. “This”, he began, “is a football.” Leadership is a non negotiable.
A great coach is a leader in every sense of the word. He’s the embodiment of his team. Teams take on the character of their coaches, for good or for bad.
Dads are coaches. A family needs a great coaching dad every bit as much as a team needs a great coach to win. Next post I’ll delve a little deeper into how I’ve played this role in my fathering (sometimes good and sometimes not so good J)
SOUND OFF: What do you think about Dad’s playing these roles during the life of your family? Are there more? Less? Different? How have you heard being a Dad described along these lines?