My 13 year old plays flag football with our city. He's been playing for years, experiencing different coaching styles and coaches. He's played various sports and initially, the Mr and I were more involved. I'd end up being a team mom, creating the snack schedule and/or the team banner. The Mr. would volunteer as assistant coach and phone reminders to parents. If he wasn't doing that, he'd be out front tossing the ball back and forth, for whatever the current sport was, with our middle son. As time went on and careers and job schedules changed, we decreased our involvement.
This season I have witnessed some interesting dynamics among coaches, fathers and sons, involved with the team. The coach is the step-dad of one of the boys on the team. I suppose this is much more common than I'd like to admit.
The coach is thin, covered with tattoos in places his work clothes can't hide. He works a blue collar job and more than once has arrived to a game in his standard issue dark blue Dickies and long sleeved, button up shirt with a patch on each side of his chest. One patch has the company name and the other has his name, embroidered on it. He smokes on the field sometimes and occasionally drops F bombs. He seems like a pretty nice guy. I mean, he volunteers his time to coach his step-son's football team, right? My 13 year old says he's funny too.
His youngest son, a toddler, usually comes along. Tonight the little fella was sucking on a big blow-pop and drinking from his dad's giant cup of fast-food-restaurant soda. A few times, 'mom' has been there. She was tonight.
At last week's game, there was step-dad coach (mom's husband) and step-mom (dad's wife) in attendance. No mom or dad though. Is that as strange as I felt it was?
I've noticed dad attending a few games. He stands far off, along the corner of the field. He never cheers or says anything. I am one of 'those moms'--that screams her head off cheering the loudest. So it always looks strange to me, when parents aren't rooting for their kid or kid's team.
Dad never joins the crowd of other parents or sits on the bleachers. He stands, the entire game, in that far off corner of the field. I haven't seen his son, the coach's step-son, approach him after games either.
Dad is there, at a physical distance. Is that a reflection of his emotional distance too?
My 20 year old taught my 13 year old how to shave this year, for his birthday. Occasionally, he plays football with him. Mostly though, his football practice consists of one day, every few weeks, that the coach schedules practice.
This man, covered in tattoos, smoking and dropping F bombs, is taking time out of his evening, to teach and coach a bunch of boys. Boys that are other men's sons. Other men's sons.
I can't help but wonder if this is the future for my sons, for all of us.
Is my 4year old eventually going to be coached...or even 'fathered' by someone else's dad?
Like me? Like I was?
How do fathers NOT realize their children need them...not just staring from the corners? Not just a few hours here and there, when it's convenient and it works around their schedule, hobbies and other life. I'm forty years old...and I STILL need a dad. A real dad. Not just someone who owns a house I visit occasionally. And I want a husband...not just a man that pays the bills.
When will my children or I, have a man in our lives who realizes (and guards) his significance to us? I can't imagine ANY man, who truly knows his value and importance in the lives of his wife and children...would stay in the corners.