Friday Night Tykes

Okay, I’ll do my best to stay focused and stay on the topic at hand. I have an extreme passion for Football, specifically College Football to be exact. I’ve been contemplating for the past couple of weeks on doing a post for this specific topic, but my answer was solidified when I watched an episode of “Friday Night Tykes” on the Esquire Channel today.

ga1I understand in the Lone Star State, football is very important at ALL levels, but when is or better yet, what age is TOO early for children to play tackle football? Watching this show, I feel guilty, because I have a passion as some of the Coaches on this reality show, but are you willing to jeopardize the future of a young athlete just because you’re the Head Coach and you want to win? I, myself, personally don’t want to be labeled as “that” coach, who was the cause for a player being paralyzed or possibly dying on the Football field.

I also realize that kids can get hurt at school just as easy, but I feel you increase their chances by letting them play tackle football at 7, 8, 9 and 10 years of age; kids mature at different times, so who makes the final decision? Instilling discipline into a young player can be done without contact. Who should make the final decision on when children are allowed to play Tackle Football? The Parents? Recreation Directors? Parents will win the majority of the time, because if you don’t let them play “here”, they’ll go over “there” and play. Concussions are real and they exist, but most of the parents seem oblivious to this fact, because they say, it won’t happen to my kid. Until, it does. Diencephalon_small

509px-Concussion_mechanics.svgSome people say my answer would be different if I had a son of my own. No, I don’t think it would. Real quick, lets look at the definition of Concussion. A Concussion is (1) temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head. The term is also used loosely of the aftereffects such as confusion or temporary incapacity. (2) A Violent shock as from a heavy blow. Acceleration (G-Forces) can exert rotational forces in the brain, especially the midbrain and diencephalon (the caudal [posterior] part of the forebrain, containing the epithalamus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and ventral thalamus and the third ventricle).

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) exist because of blows to the head. It can happen on their 1st hit or 2,000th. Playing tackle football is an extreme risk, due to injuries other than concussions. This issue has also sparked a debate at the National Football League (NFL) level of play. It has caused family members and former players to sue the NFL due to the lingering affects of multiple concussions. I’m not trying to spark a debate, just asking the question of if this is how you want to instill “discipline” into young players? There are other ways to do this. I think it should be based on the maturity level of the child and the Parent & Recreation Director should talk it over before making the decision.

If the  parent decides to let their child play tackle, they should have to sign a waiver, stating that if the child receives a concussion, the Recreation Department will not be held responsible, and by signing the waiver, the Parent acknowledges that they understand the risks associated with playing tackle football. This also would protect the Recreation Department against law suits. Maybe the National Football League (NFL) and Collegiate Football should incorporate the waiver so in the end, when the player is done playing football, they can’t sue the University or the Professional Organization, whether it be the NFL/CFL, etc.

I truly believe that education is the key. Before having the Player/Parent/Recreation Director sign off, conduct training so they know the effects from a concussion, also show the Parent and Coaches what could happen ifTexas2-1 they don’t deal with concussions the correct way. Don’t overlook the signs, because you want to win. Hold the Parents, Coaches and Players responsible. I know that we can be hurt getting out of the bed, but that’s a risk that we have to make. Maybe I’m looking too deep into this issue. I don’t know.

After saying all that, I strongly feel that based on maturity, size and mental stability of the Parent/Recreation Director/Player, then should the decision be made. Parents don’t look at the present, they are focused on the future, what the player could possibly do at the next level. They forget about the maturity and all that other stuff. How do you feel about it?

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Since it’s Friday Night and I know everybody is winding down from the holidays, I will do my best to keep this short.

Tomorrow is my first time coaching a Basketball Game. If you guys had to guess what the name of my team is, what would you say? Yep, you got it right, TIDE! I feel comfortable about what we put together as far as the fundamentals we taught before the holiday break. Hopefully, we don’t fall apart too quick. Yesterday, also today, I called and sent texts to the parents of my players to remind them of practice today. We arrived and the only players that were there on time were my two girls and Coach B’s daughter. About 15 minutes later another player comes strolling in. Right now we have 4 players so trying to come up with an Offensive scheme would be pointless. It is now 6:30 and here comes 3 more players. We only have 30 minutes to reinforce our Defense Scheme, which we ended up changing anyway. We practiced using a 2-3 Zone, but with the time we had tonight, we thought it would be better if we went with a 1-2-2 Zone. With the little time we had, we accomplished a lot. As the season progresses and we have an opportunity to practice, we will then have a chance to incorporate more plays based off of the 1-2-2 and 2-3 Zone.

 

Okay, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way; my Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the Oklahoma Sooners, the score was 45-31. It was unbelievable. I was shocked. We started out with some promise, but towards the middle of the second quarter and the second half, our Offensive Line did not protect A.J. McCarron which was more added pressure, the added pressure put on him by the media. They made a big deal of him playing his last game as the starting Quarterback for the Crimson Tide. I understand that their intentions were good, but he still a young man, but depending on him and not putting the weight on the rest of the team, as seen in the eyes of the nation, it was unfair. He was trying to hard to make plays happen when there wasn’t a play their. As a team, we had 5 Turnovers (3 Interceptions & 2 fumbles). He played the Quarterback position for Coach Nick Saban to the best of his ability. During his tenure as Quarterback at the University, he threw for an Alabama Crimson Tide historic 5,956, 49 Touchdowns and 8 Interceptions with an Overall Passer Rating (OQR): 66.7. He’s broken every single quarterback record for quarterback at the University. Another issue I have with a lot of Sports Analysts is they label him as a “Game Manager,” which during the 2011-2012 Season, that may have been true, but during the 2011 BCS National Title Game he showed that he could be much more than that. What’s crazy, out of all the awards, trophies, on top of the accomplishments, they are only going to remember everything he didn’t do well. A lot of people may not like him, but people need to keep in mind of EVERYTHING he has done and judge him off of those statistics, instead of his last and final game as the starting quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide; but that’s neither here nor there. I said it at the beginning of the season and I will say it until I can’t say it anymore, I love my damn Tide and always will. #ROLLDAMNTIDE! 

On to another note, this week couldn’t have ended any better. Why, you ask? On Thursday, I found a really, really, close friend that I had in High School. While we were in Junior High School and High School, I had the biggest crush on her. We started off as friends, then became best friends. I was stuck in the “friend-zone” for a long time, until I finally manned up and did what I had to do. Obviously, it didn’t work out, but life has different paths for everyone. I tried to make something happen before I went to my first duty station, but we really couldn’t do anything, because she was in College and I would be at Fort Bragg, NC. I was furious, but looking back on it now, she was very mature and made the right decision. I had hard feelings at the beginning, but as time passed holding on to that pain does nothing, but keep negative energy around me. I’ve learned and I am still learning how to stay and keep a positive attitude. Just her coming into my life again was crazy. The last 3 maybe 4 weeks have been pretty good. Out of all the negativity that happened during November and December, it’s good to have something positive happen to you. I am positive that things are only going to higher from this point. What I can honestly say and I am ecstatic about is that all of the negativity and everything going wrong, only brought my family and I together as a more cohesive unit.

I haven’t really been watching the news or reading any newspapers, well other than the sports sections, so I really don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the world. Once I get myself caught up on what’s going on in the world, then I MAY Blog about some news. The reasoning behind that decision is, I am attempting to broaden the range of this Blog so I am able to expand my vocabulary and overall become a better Blogger. We will see how that works out. I’m pretty confident in myself, but sometimes the way I write, I can sound like an uneducated person. I really don’t want dive into writing a book with my current vernacular. Of course, if anyone that follows this Blog and you have suggestions on how I can make my Blog better or challenge me with a specific topic to write about. I am able to take constructive criticism so don’t worry about any backlash.

I know I said that I would try my best to keep it short, but hey, I haven’t posted anything in a couple of days. I’ll have more tomorrow after we play our first Basketball game. I’m not going to critique them too much, but I will take some good notes. Ain’t nobody getting paid! I told the girls that no matter what the outcome of the game is, I just want them to have fun. This is Recreation Basketball, so I don’t need anyone trying to Michael Jordan. Just play your position, do your best to throw good passes, if you call for the ball you better catch it and the most important thing, HAVE FUN!!

 

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Last night we had our 7th soccer game against a team that we have played 3 times, we lost, but the score was only 2-1; the previous game the score was 6-0, so my team is improving, it may be slow, but we are making big improvements. After we played them last week, my daughter comes up to me and says, Daddy, Jimmy (not the kids real name) called me a B (Bitch). I thought I heard him say it from the sideline, but I brushed it off. Now that she told me and 3 of her teammates confirm it, it only solidified my suspicions. This same kid that called her a (B) bitch also lives in our neighborhood. So, me being the responsible parent I thought that I was being, I went to talk to his parents. His mother comes to the door and I introduce myself and explain to her the reason why I stopped by. She says to me, that it couldn’t be her son, because he doesn’t talk like that. I told her that I heard him say it and I was standing on the sideline and 3 of the players on her team confirmed her statement. She then brings her husband to the door, as if I was supposed to be scared or something, and I explain to him the same situation. He also says to me, it couldn’t have been Jimmy because he doesn’t talk like that around the house, but we will talk to him about it. Now I want you as the reader to put yourself in my position, you hear it from your daughter. You hear it from the sideline and from 3 of your players confirmed it, and you want me to believe that he didn’t say it? Come on people, I may be from Alabama, but I’m far from stupid.

Last night we played this same team, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post and this same kid calls her a bitch again. I yelled from the sideline so everyone could hear me, that if one more person on this soccer field calls my daughter out of her name again, we are going to have some issues. Well, last night, the father of the accused kid was there. He said I know he didn’t say it, because I didn’t hear him say it. Of course you’re not going to hear it, because your on the opposite side of the field of play, which is near my goal post. So what my daughter and 5 kids from my team are making all this up and it happens to be the same kid that called her a B (Bitch) last week. Again, me being a parent as well as a coach I went to the opposing coach and said to him that if your players continue to trash talk and use curse words to my players we are going to walk off the field, because that’s not how my players are taught to conduct themselves and they aren’t taught that way of play. He then calls the accused kid to the sideline and asks him if he called anyone on the field a B (bitch), and of course he replies, No I didn’t call anyone that. Of course he is going to deny it to his coach with his father standing right there. I said, I know what I heard and I believe what I heard and what 5 of my players confirmed.

After the game, all the players lined up and said good game and all that good stuff, then as I go to turn around to go to talk to my team, the coach from the opposing team stops me and says to the accused kid, don’t you have something to say to him? I look at the coach and look back at the kid, the coach says that I accused him of calling my daughter a Bitch, but you didn’t say it, so that coach owes you an apology. I looked at the coach in confusion and said, I don’t owe him a damn apology. I myself, nor did any of my players do anything wrong. The director of the Recreation department was out there, because every team that plays this team always has an incident like this or have the coaches yelling from the sideline, you better not let that girl beat you or if that girl beats you, I’m going to make you run a specific number of laps after the game or practice. First of all, unless I am wrong, I will not apologize to a child and Secondly, because you are the coach that doesn’t believe in teaching your players good sportsmanship, don’t get mad at me.

It was also frustrating that I could hear the trash talking from the opposing team and see them getting away with hand balls and tripping, but as soon as one of my players did it, the infraction was immediately brought up by one of the opposing coaches. I said to myself okay, you want to play like that I can play that game also. If I had to walk to the middle of the field to stop the play for my players to get fair treatment that’s exactly what I did, because I thought it was the right thing to do. I did lose my temper, because I let this piece of crap coach get to me, but at the end of the game, I did apologize to my players for acting out and that we will not play like they do.

At the end of the day, we are doing this for the children. No one is being paid and no one is going to have a scout come from some Division 1 school come to scout a 10 or 11 year old. What I told my team at the beginning of the season, that when it gets to the point when you are not having fun anymore then we will not continue to play. Don’t think that I am not telling my kids to play aggressive, but there has to be a line where coaches need to get involved and make sure that the game is played fairly. I told my team that we have to play these guys one more time before the season ends and if they continue to play the way they are playing, we are walking off the field. I told my kids that by us walking off the field we are not being cowards or giving up, it’s to show that coach and his players that the way they play is wrong. My oldest daughter fell and before she could get up one of the opposing players was tripped by her leg and the referee called a penalty on my daughter for tripping. I almost lost my mind. I’m sure you guys have gotten the point that I am trying to get you to see. It’s not about the parents or the coaches, it’s all about the children. Just let them have fun.

 

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Today was my 1st soccer practice. It went pretty well. I have 11 players, 8 boys and 3 girls. My girls are on my team and haven’t played in 5 years, but they did a great job today. We have a lot of work to do before opening day. I didn’t play soccer in high school, but I coached last year so I have a little experience. The strengths on my team are: they play well together, follow directions and can dribble for short distances. My weaknesses are: stamina and endurance, ball control, kicking power and they all want to gravitate to the ball.
Today’s practice all I focused on was the fundamentals, dribbling, cutting and taking a shot at the goal and they did a lot of running. I plan on starting and ending every practice with a lap around the whole soccer field. If they don’t listen or get to rowdy then I’m going to make them take a lap. I know there are some soccer players out there, do you guys have any ideas for drills? Today we did back pedaling then sprinting, suicides, shuffling side to side and passing.
Overall for my first practice it went very well. If you guys have any suggestions or ideas I am open to them. This is my second year coaching. Last year I coach 13 & 14 year olds. This year I’m coaching 10 & 11 year olds. I can say that the younger group of kids is a lot easier to work with than teens.
I feel that this year will be different, because last year out of 10 games we won 1 and that was the last game of the year. Maybe they felt pity for us, who knows. As long as I continue to teach the fundamentals and we improve every practice, we will do well. Last year I was just thrown into the fire, but this year, I’m taking more of a coaching role. It feels pretty good. As I said before, if you have any suggestions for drills or plays, don’t hesitate to let me know.