I am a coach's
daughter. As far back as I can remember my dad has been involved in athletics.
My first clear memories are of him as the Athletic Director at the University
I remember his office where I played with the phone, the gym I spent many hours
dribbling basketballs, the racquetball courts I tried for hours to hit the ball
so it would ricochet just right, the very cool indoor pool complete with
platform dives, and the big soccer field where I did camp one summer.
I remember road trips
on the buses with the college kids who seemed like giants. They treated me like
a princess and fought over who got to do the lacing cards and coloring books. I
remember Thanksgivings on the road at soccer tournaments freezing my tail off
in the stands. I remember raiding the hospitality room at half time and roaming
around the place like I owned it.
I remember how very,
very proud I was when the women's basketball team fell into his hands with a
record of something like 2 and 50 (that is probably a slight over exaggeration
but you get the point) and brought them to the national championship the next
year. He was coach of the year and later inducted into the Hall of Fame there.
I'm sure it was a
crazy life for my poor mother but as a kid I absolutely adored it. And then we
When we came to Augusta
, he started out
teaching at a Catholic high school across the river in Aiken. He also coached
the varsity girls' basketball team. When I came to their games as a freshman in
high school, he let me sit on the bench with him. One time I even ended up
coaching for him. That's a story I'll leave for him to tell you but if you're
thinking of that scene from Hoosiers
where Gene Hackman's character gets thrown out of the game, you’re on the right
Shortly after that he
coached the middle school girls’ basketball team at my school (not my team
though) through an undefeated season right up to the championship game which
they lost. I remember very clearly those preteen girls falling to the floor in
puddles of their own tears at the end of that game. Dad took it all in stride.
From there he moved
to varsity boy’s basketball when my brothers were playing. During those
seasons, I was a single college student with nothing much going on so he
brought me back to the bench as his statistician. I loved that job so much. By
that time I was old enough to grab his coat sleeve when he stood to yell at the
refs. "I'm just doing that to fire up the team," he used to tell me.
And then years later, he admitted that that was really the reason he had me
there in the first place.
So here we are years
later and worlds apart. And look what I captured today.
See that coach on the
bench in the red shirt? That's MY DAD!
And that baby girl
sitting right next to him? That's MY DAUGHTER!
Can I just say that I
feel like God has smiled down on our whole family? What a tremendous
opportunity! What an incredible memory! What an amazing bond my girl is going
to have with my dad!
It is precious, so
very, very precious to me. This week as I reflect on how much I have to be
thankful for, this is definitely one of the highlights.
Dad, I love you more
than words can say and I'm so glad you said yes. And you bet as I sat there and
watched that game tonight I found myself wondering how I can get you to
switch over to the boys' teams when they start to play.