This fall I took a leap of faith and started coaching 7th grade football. We are nearing the end of the season already. It has flown by. I must say I have enjoyed the experience immensely. Being 67 years old and not having coached football before (I did play in high school) I was a little apprehensive about my abilities and endurance. I will say I have had to spend many hours on youtube finding plays and drills to use and I have had to lie down after practice most days, but everyday I have been excited when practice starts.
I have been team coaching with three other awesome guys who have helped me and been there for the boys all through the season. Sean, Tony and Cal, you are the best. I hope we get to coach together again some time. In addition, we have played against some good teams and the players, coaches and fans of those teams have been great as well. Yes, I have yelled at the refs some, but they have been great too.
Last week Tony and I had the opportunity to coach in one of the most exciting football games I can recall. Our 7th graders were playing against Owatonna. We started the game in a hole 0-12 when they got two interceptions for touchdowns against us. But our offense was moving the ball and our defense for the most part was stopping them. We came back and took the lead, then they took the lead, then we took the lead, etc. We had 92 yard runs, fumbles, long bombs for touchdowns, safeties etc. In the end, we lost 34-32. But I don’t think our boys were not discouraged too much, because we had great enthusiam.
Our boys were fired up, both sides were. In the fourth quarter, we were on defense and we needed to get the ball back because they were ahead. We called a time out and discussed the gravity of the situation. Our players were determined. On the next play when the opposing quarterback said, “hut” our entire defense rushed and bowled them over. Problem was the ball was not to be hiked until the second “hut”. Tony was fired up, he said, “Do that again!” I’m thinking, yes but without the offsides. We were smiling, so were the fans.
I was fired up too. In the fourth quarter when we scored a touchdown, the ref’s hands went up in the air. So I started yelling and yelling at the offense to get out there for the two-point conversion, when one of my players pulled my sleave and said, “Coach, that was the two point conversion.” I said, “Oops, I guess that was a senior moment.” He said, “Ya think?” I said, “If you tell anybody, you’ll be runnin 200 laps.” He just smiled.
Each week we have seen the players develop their football skills, their love for the physical nature of football and their understanding about what it means to be on a team. For that I am grateful and I look forward to the rest of this year and the possibility of doing this again.
Rock on, Todd