Taking the field for the final time

Friday, October 14, 2016

Today will be a special day for me. I will be taking the football field one last time to coach one of my sons.

The Spencer sixth-grade MYFL football team earned a spot on Championship Saturday in Spirit Lake. The fifth-grade team ó coached by my good friend Scott Busch ó did as well. So the young men from Spencer, in their final MYFL game, will get to play for a championship. I couldnít be prouder of this young group of 28 boys who have played their hearts out this year for the opportunity.

My son Gabe is among them. He stands a statuesque 4 feet tall and weighs in at 70 pounds, with his water bottle in hand, and plays fullback. An odd position for the smallest kid on the team and usually on the field, but donít tell him, he thinks heís 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds.

And like all of the coaches on the sixth-grade team this year, this is it for all of us in terms of coaching our sons. Nathan Prenzlow, Dale Kroll, Eric Tigges, Damion Honkomp and Dave Schmidt and I will be ending a pretty special part of our lives when the final buzzer sounds Saturday following our 1 p.m. game. And itís just setting in.

For me personally, this marks the fourth son Iíve coached in the MYFL all for Spencer. My oldest son missed the opportunity as we didnít move to town until his eighth-grade year, but the other four boys all had a chance to play and I was blessed with the opportunity to share that experience with them. Itís been about 13 years now of working in this league and Iíve loved every minute of it.

Watching the kids grow over the years, mature and develop their skills. Perhaps the greatest reward is seeing those kids today, some in middle school and high school now, and still having them call you coach. Thereís no better feeling than having one of my former players come up to me to let me know how theyíre doing or sharing a special story.

Itís been a great journey, and this is the first of the last for me. With six kids Iíve had a lot of great coaching opportunities over the years in football, baseball, softball, basketball and soccer ó but Iíve never had the feeling that it was over. Such is the case this weekend.

Thank you to Kynison, Luc, Hunter, Skye, Case and Gabe for allowing me the joy of coaching you. Spending that time with you has been something Iíve treasured every moment. Thank you to all the coaches Iíve stood next to and worked with from Heath Staedtler my very first year to the great crew who Iíve worked with this year. This has been an amazing experience to share with all of you.

I donít think Iím done coaching youth football, or helping out as a director, but I wonít be coaching one of my own any more. Guess Iíll just have to wait for my grandkids in a few years.