[With Father’s Day on the calendar, I thought this a perfect time to bring this back from the archive]
I cried for 20 minutes today.
I’m a stoic-type guy. I’m used to compartmentalizing and burying my emotions. But not today. Today was different.
It was checkin-day.
I dropped my oldest off at college—to start his freshman year.
And there’s a lot of misery in the World right now, so depositing my kid at a good college to get a good education is supposed to be a happy event. I get that.
But here’s the thing, I’ll miss him. Really miss him.
Here’s the bigger thing—the important thing—the thing YOU should know as a college coach—I’m NOT the only Dad who cries.
There are others—lots.
Dads And Crying
We go to the car while mom gets the dorm-room ready. We cry in the parking lot.
“It’s allergy season,” I heard one guy say today.”
Another, wiping his face, broadcasted, “Got stupid sunscreen in my eyes, again.” And that guy had been a Marine.
Me? I told one guy my eyes were bloodshot from drinking. I haven’t had a drink in 30 years.
So, why should you as a coach care?
Because the person who recruited weeping-Dad’s child (male or female) might be missing an opportunity to shine.
What if a you wandered around the parking lot with a box of tissues? Dispensing as needed. Patting a few dads on the back. I can think of worse duties.
And if checkin-day has come and gone? Give the recruit 10 postcards, and make sure he mails one each day to his Dad. Jeez, I haven’t gotten a postcard in years, and never one from him. That’d be cool.
Y’know, if a text rolled in right now, and one of my son’s new coaches said, “Hey Dad, no worries, we’ll take good care of him,” that would be nice.
Better yet, if the coach called and said, “Hey Dad, I know you’re tight with your son. Thanks for trusting me, I will make sure he keeps you updated, emailing/texting/whatever-social-you-like-connecting each day,” that would rock my world.
Or set up a Dad’s section on your team’s website. Dads will like that, even if it is something silly.
If any of those happened I would be blasting all my friends, “Those coaches got it together, your son should go there.”
Some people say college is a time for parents to let go, cut those strings. Wander around the parking lot on checkin-day, and see how well that message goes with the Dads.
And bring tissues, they will get used.
(Oh yeah … This also applies to high school, middle school, and pee wee sports. Trust me, I’ve been there too. It does.)