Remembering the Importance of Father’s Day
by Nick LaSpada
More often than not, Father’s Day is lost in gifts and sentimental cards that ultimately hold little meaning over the years. What really counts, at least to me, are the memories that explain your story and the journey of how you made it to this very day. I can remember playing catch with my dad as a young kid trying to figure out the basic fundamentals of every sport imaginable. Playing sports has not just been a part of my life, it is my life. I’ve been learning about the importance of being well-rounded since the day I started playing sports — all thanks to the support of my parents and, in particular, my dad. Early on, competing was simple and I was good at it, truly.
However, my dad had to constantly remind me to stay level-headed, to be the best I could be regardless of any obstacles. Playing sports was easy for me; the tough part was being told I had to stop. In high school, I won the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010, becoming the first sophomore to ever win the award. The start of my career was going exactly as planned, even culminating in being named the best quarterback in Massachusetts. I committed to play safety for Harvard University until, rather abruptly, I came down with blood clots in my lungs during my senior year.
With that plan over, I was now a liability and not an athlete. I remember when the nurse came in and told me that my season was over, my career likely not far behind it. I didn’t think twice about it until I saw my dad next to me crying — there were still so many memories to make as he watched me grow through the sport but my condition had ended two dreams that day. Luckily, the clots dissipated within six months of taking blood thinners and I was able to continue playing the sport I loved, but it hasn’t been easy. My parents helped me get into prep school in order to get healthy and restart the recruiting process all over again. I don’t know if I could have done it without my dad next to me the whole time as we searched for my next home.
Billerica Memorial High School –> The Taft School –> Bates College –> Merrimack College
The journey has been long, undoubtedly, fully of many obstacles but I am still playing football and that’s all that matters. I’ll be finishing up my last season at Merrimack College this fall; I do not know where this will lead or what the next chapter in my life holds, but I do know my dad will be next to me the entire way. Together, there is no such thing as an obstacle too big for us to handle.
The true meaning of Father’s Day is an individual story that holds memories and experiences that can’t be forgotten. At the end of the day, it’s important to be a little extra appreciative of everything your dad has done for you. Whether we realize it or not, many athletes would not be standing where they together without those helping hands along the way. For me, Father’s Day is special opportunity for a son who wishes to be half the man his father is.
Happy Father’s Day.
by Grayson Williams-Krebs
While Father’s Day is a special holiday for many families, it can also be a challenging one for others as well. A lost or absent father figure is, unfortunately, the norm for many children across the country. This day also can deeply affect single mothers who are struggling to raise their children alone — but, like many things, sports can help fill in where life has fallen short. Here at CoachUp, we especially believe in the important of the relationship between athletes and coaches.
This relationship can help mend that empty space on Father’s Day because, in some ways, coaches can be that father figure. While, yes, coaches will help you perfect that mid-range form or teach you how to throw a mean curveball, the relationship between athletes and their coach does not necessarily end once they leave the field.
A great coach can impact an athlete’s life in more ways than one. Coaches can be a role model or mentor, somebody to lean on when times get tough. Athletes look up to their coaches and often times lead by their example. Great coaches have admirable qualities: resilience, patience, loyalty, bravery, honesty, and authenticity. When outside pressures of an athlete’s life consume them, coaches are an outlet to reach out to.
Coaches tell you what you don’t want to hear, but only because they believe in you — they’re your voice of reason when you’ve lost your own. they’ll be that voice of reason. You may not see it now, but, eventually, you’ll look back and understand your coach was looking out for your best interests. A coach can full-heartedly believe in you, especially when you feel like no one else does — not even yourself.
They understand your commitment, determination, fight, and hard work — or, in other words, they appreciate you. So thank you to all the coaches out there who have given athletes the father figures that have been absent in their lives. Thank you for believing in them, supporting them, being a role model, and everything else in between. Thank you for being exactly what some athletes needed, whether that’s on the field or off.
Thank you to the coaches who have taught families that father figures come in many different forms. Thank you for being you!
From everybody at CoachUp, once again, Happy Father’s Day, no matter who your role model is!