Football Season Part One: Why We Coach
By Jack Travers
The weather changes abruptly in New England during mid November. The warm days of August training camp, the extended Indian Summer of September, and the refreshing boldness of October fade like the flowers on the Azalea bush, a sure sign that, in the words of Ned Stark, “winter is coming."
For a high school football coach, especially those who have been in the game for many years, it is the time of the season when the question must be asked, “Why in the world am I doing this?”
Most high school coaches are also teachers, and November is ground zero time for grading, writing college recommendations for seniors, and finishing up first quarter business. The average football coach at any level tends to be obsessed with watching film, enamored with game planning, and possessing the inclination to discuss whether to employ Cover 2 or Cover 3 coverage for a minimum of at least three hours. All of the above leads to extremely long days, and a substantial exertion of time and energy. Let’s add a rainy day at 38 degrees, and we return to the question of “Why?”
For me, and for most coaches I believe, coaching is a vocation. Sure, I love the game, and thrill of competition, but, ultimately, the beauty of football is teamwork, and the opportunity to witness eleven individuals set aside personal pride, pettiness, and jealousy, and instead focus on one overall goal. If the left guard fails to block the linebacker, the running back (no matter how skilled) will be probably be tackled and the play will fail. One cohesive unit, operating at peak efficiency….doesn’t happen to often, but when it does…wow, sign me up.
For a coach to be part of and to help guide this process is a blessing. My faith is inextricably linked to my coaching. I understand now that it is a vocation. Wins and losses are important, but, infinitely more important is what type of young men we are sending into the world. Are they humble, compassionate, strong, honest, and faithful? The potential to help these young men along their journey answers that question of why I coach.
It’s August. It’s time for football.
Writer Name : Jack Travers
Writer Bio : Jack Travers is a social studies teacher and longtime football coach at Boston College High School and author of Team Player. He lives in Lynn, Massachusetts along with his wife Janice and their two children, Gina and Joseph. Jack holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master in Arts and Teaching from Boston College and a J.D. from the New England School of Law. As a native of Greater Boston and a twenty eight veteran of the classroom, Jack is thoroughly familiar with the themes that permeate his young adult novel, Team Player. His book can be found on Amazon.com, Nook, Barns and Noble and TotalRecallPress.com.