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THE FIELD — I've done some tough things in my life. I learned a language, learned how to play an instrument, and found an amazing woman and somehow convinced her to marry and spend her life with me. I also lost 70 pounds, ran a marathon, and once went a whole week without eating any pizza.
All these things were difficult — especially the pizza thing — but the hardest thing I've ever done in my life was coach my 6-year-old son's flag football team. You may think I'm joking, but I'm not.
While the job was rewarding, it was also exhausting. Just imagine trying to explain the complex game of football to a child who doesn't really want to be there and has the attention span of, well, a kindergartner.
These are the kinds of conversations I had:
Me: “Peter, you're going to hand the ball to Will.”
Me: “So Will can run it.”
Me: “To the end zone.”
Peter: “Why don't I run it?”
Me: “Do you want to?”
Will: “Can I play on the swings?”
Peter: “Why can't Liam run it?”
Me: “He will when it's his turn.”
Liam: *grabs ball and starts running away*
Me: “Come back, Liam.”
Liam: “But you said it's my turn.”
Me: “No, I didn't.”
Peter: “Yes you did.”
Will: *runs for the swings*
And this was within the first 30 seconds of practice.
What I'm trying to say here is coaching flag football is a tough job, but the kids make up for it and the NFL knows that. At least, I think they do because they put this video together. NFL Films will often put microphones on athletes during games to hear what they're saying. It's usually a lot of trash talk and grunting.
When NFL Films put the microphones on these kids, they struck pure gold. The kids are out on the field having fun, learning, getting exercise and teaching us all what sportsmanship really is.
I also learned from this video that I did those kids on my team a disservice as their coach, because the coaches in the video have more patience and football knowledge than I did. Good job, coaches.