Spoke to a former player of mine who just recently became a father for the first time. While he was playing with his 1-year old son, he told me this:
“Coach, I’ve actually been meaning to call you or text you. It’s pretty amazing being a father, and I get to take my son into the city and hang out in the park, go to different places. And it’s awesome. But it’s also obviously challenging. And when my wife was pregnant, everyone made the same light-hearted condescending remarks about being a Dad – ‘enjoy your last few days as a free man, when you have kids your life is over.’ I heard that a lot. And there are definitely tough times. But I always think back to our practices, how tough they were, and how much you demanded out of us. I’ve always thought that if I could prepare every day for those practices, I’d be prepared for everything. And it’s true. I’m so glad you held us accountable the way you did every day, and demanded toughness out of us. It’s actually prepared me to be a father. If I had never done anything tough in my life, I wouldn’t be nearly as prepared as I am to be a parent. So thank you for that.”
Wow. The best part of being a coach is hearing from your players down the road when they say thank you for holding them accountable. But this is the first time I’ve heard someone make that correlation – that the way we practiced every day prepared him for fatherhood. That was special.
One of the best conversations I’ve ever had with a former player.