On Wednesday, Eli graciously allowed me to write a guest post for his blog, Coach Daddy. Being the good southern girl that I am, I returned the favor and immediately invited him to come on over, have a rum and Coke Zero, and share some stories with my readers.
Having raised two sons, I wanted to ask Eli about raising daughters, how he’s going to react to their boyfriends, how he’s going to let his little girls drive off in a car alone for the first time, how he will be able to let those sweet little pony-tailed angels go out on their own…
So sit back, put up your feet and enjoy Eli’s thoughts on raising daughters! But first, can I get you some refreshments and a drink?
Nobody likes a blowhard coach.
You’ve seen them – they bark at every play and every player. They try to assert themselves to show their skill and knowledge. If it goes well – it’s because of superb coach. If it goes bad – it’s because the kids just didn’t listen.
I’ve always believed coaching happens between games and at halftime.
The game is for the players. This applies to life as a dad, too.
Whether it’s to the first day of kindergarten or boot camp or college, that dual set of footprints has to stop. At some point, your child must walk it alone. If we’ve taught and coached well to that point, you’ve done all you can.
There’s a moment in a soccer match that epitomizes this point of you’re-on-your own. It’s when you substitute a kid from the bench for one on the field.
It goes like this:
- I’ll call on a kid to enter the game
- She’ll put down her water bottle, put her hair up in a ponytail, and stand next to me on the sideline, at midfield
- We talk, for seconds or minutes, as we wait for the right break in the action for her to enter the game
Some of the most amazing conversations happen. Stuff between me and that player, forever. She’ll ask questions. I’ll offer reminders. We’ll touch on what we’ve learned, what we’ll do next, and sometimes, talk about anything but soccer.
And when the whistle blows … off she goes.
My oldest daughter is 16. Impossible, considering I’m too young to have a teenage daughter. And didn’t she just learn to walk last week? She’s about to check into three pivotal games in life. I cannot go there with her.
Did I coach her well enough?
Elise just acquired her first boyfriend. He’s a good kid who has liked her for a while. I asked for his middle name for blogging purposes. Because he gave none, he’s heretofore known as Kosmo.
Alright, Elise … remember, you’re just 16 … he seems like a good kid … it wouldn’t hurt if he was afraid I was unstable … don’t say that, in those exact words … just, insinuate … dating should be fun, you know … your relationship should help sustain you, not drain you … remember those things I did on daddy daughter dates … he should open doors for you, give his undivided attention to you … and be good to him, too … never use his devotion to you against him.
Elise recently completed her driver’s ed hours. She has the book to study for her permit, but it remains pristine and unread. She’s got a lot going on, with school and soccer. I’m in no rush either. It’s a wild world out here on the roads.
Alright, Elise … remember, anyone who drives faster than you is an idiot, anyone slower is a moron … two hands on the wheel, 10 and 2 … don’t text, don’t dial, don’t Pinterest behind the wheel … it’s not a race … take every turn like there’s a glass of water on your hood … nice and easy … when you’re below a quarter tank, gas up … slow down in the rain … call me, 24/7, if you cannot drive … I will always come, no questions asked … nothing, no job, no appointment, nothing, is worth speeding for.
Elise, in her sophomore year in high school, is a goalkeeper. The last time she played the position, The Big Bang Theory was a new show and Rihanna topped the charts with Umbrella (uh uh uh eh eh). But her team needed her, so …
Alright, Elise … Remember Hope Solo’s words: A good goalkeeper will make every save she’s supposed to make – and one she isn’t … Tune out the parents … heck, tune out the coach … act, react … short memory … chin up … never blame your defense, even if it’s their fault … think ahead when the attack starts … come out, force the quick decision … take charge … every shot you stop chips away at a striker’s psyche … when the game’s over, let’s go get a burger. I love you.
I can’t imagine it’s easy to be a girlfriend, or a goalkeeper. I know how tough it is to be a driver.
No one likes a blowhard coach. And there’s no place for a blowhard dad. All those days you watched me make decisions behind the wheel, on the sidelines, and in life? I know that’s where the training happened. Now, it’s your turn.
It’s not a race.
Slow down in the rain.
And, let’s go get a burger.
I love you.
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