I’ve been an assistant football coach at the high school level for four years now. I played the sport in high school. I appreciate the benefits of football now as an adult coach much more than I did as a player.
If my two sons have an inkling to play football when they get a few years older, I will encourage it.
Football makes boys become warriors
I don’t want to over-exaggerate my case with legitimate military vocabulary, but I believe this is true: Football instills a level of toughness most modern boys would not experience in their natural climate. Especially considering when their natural climate is playing Call of Duty 24/7, eating Cheese Puffs, and being coddled by an over protective mother.
There are too many Peter Pans living in a fantasy world who should be young men taking real initiative and responsibility to protect and provide for their family and futures. With the passing of World War Two’s “Greatest Generation”, football is the closest most boys will come to experiencing a battlefield.
There is a fierce fighter lying latent in every chubby adolescent couch potato. That warrior inner man can be beckoned by the stiff demands of sweltering two a days. That future responsible family man can be refined by the daily grind of stingers, head aches, and swollen knees.
Football makes individuals become a team
When done right, a coach can tear down an individual in the heat of battle and build him up afterwards. Tough coaching can help kill ego, laziness, and general selfishness in boys who sincerely believe they are the center of the universe. Football is a constant reminder that players belong to their teammates, coaches, and community.
It helps cast a vision greater than self.
No player is an island. Every player needs the cooperation of his weakest teammate to be succesful. In a generation that is becoming increasingly isolated by the dull glare of a smart screen, boys need community more than ever. They need interpersonal life skills that will help them become better teammates and co workers.
Football makes boys witness and model men
Ask any grown man who played sports: “Who affected you most in early life?” I can almost guarantee a coach will be mentioned. In a modern society replete with absentee dads (physically and emotionally) coaches are often the only solid male authority figures young boys will ever see growing up.
Coaches are the men who will help raise up the potential men who will serve the next generation.
Coaches have a ripe opportunity to speak life, encouragement, structure, and discipline into a boy’s heart very few parents even do. The coach takes a natural authority position most boys will respect, even when they have little respect for the rest the world.
Lost boys fed a steady cultural diet of women chasing, drug consuming, and stuff gathering have a complete lack of father figures to steer them towards true wisdom.
Football (and team sports in general) can help fill that void.
What are some positives (or negatives) you see that team sports may play in an individual’s development?