I am. Even if only for my daughter's team, a group of four to six year old girls. Our team is Laffy Taffy and our rules are minimal, but it still counts. My coaching that is. Counts for whom you may think, slightly annoyed? Not for the ones on the bleachers, who verbally marvel at my ability to fit one more thing in. Truthfully, I am not that successful and during our games Amos is usually in the car watching a movie eating French fries. Not for the extended family members, grandparents and siblings, happy to be outside and to catch up on the day's events. Not for the parents who are relieved not to be coaching themselves or likely coaching another team. Not for the crazed mothers trying to spectate but are chasing their own toddler while mine is home with a sitter or watching a movie in the car when I can not find one. Not any of them. I do it for her, my six year old daughter, in spite of all those things.
When I first wondered aloud about coaching, my six year old daughter basically yelped and said incredulously, "You?! Coach?! What about daddy?". This was the likely obvious choice of the adults in our family and he had just finished coaching an intense basketball season for our oldest son so I was hesitate to throw him under the bus again. Why couldn't I coach? I had played on various JV and Varsity school teams from seventh through twelfth grade. I was certainly never the star player, don't think I scored (I would remember that), and played on offense, right wing in my later years. What I lacked in rulebook knowledge, I could learn and I had lots of experience with children. So again, why not?
"What about Amos?". Ahhhh, the real layer always uncovered once you delve into a conversation or topic. My own knowledge of the hidden layers I obscured for years propels me to inquire a bit more deeply into the psyche of my own children. Amos, the youngest of her three brothers and the fourth in my line of children. Our most favorite blond bespectacled little boy but needy certainly, extra special needs as we say in our family, a bit of a wobbly walker and lacking language still. He is coming along though with medical issues and his development, this the observation for her question. He does take much of my time and energy and fills up my physical space too. He is not small enough to share my lap anymore with his sister and in his newfound feistiness, he refuses to try, shoving and kicking her with no inhibition.
Yes, before him, she had held the record for the longest run of being the youngest. She had me for four years, two additional years than either of her older brothers had been gifted and yet it was a role she was excited to relinquish. She had longed for a younger brother or sister long before Amos was a blip on the ultrasound machine's screen and the news of his impending arrival, brought pure joy and excitement. However, her question, "What about Amos?", had simultaneously blind sided and enlightened me and suddenly my safety zone was breeched with her rooted words. She was right. Right for so many reasons since Amos detested cheering (loud voices), being constrained in a stroller, being an observer rather than participant and last but not least, games and practices generally occur at feeding time. Like a well-trained dog, he eats by the hands of a clock. Lastly, I would have to get a babysitter at least three times per week over the next couple months and occasionally more so that I could fulfill this duty. It was another several hundred dollars to spend when there were always places to ration our finances, like to the pittance of a savings account. Emphasis on savings.
"What about Amos?", I said this time, my turn to be there for my daughter. I was a long ago soccer player, not in the best of shape, but willing to be the best soccer coach I could be. Only for her, the six year old girl who would remember when she was first and not think to herself, "What about Blair?". My daughter.