New doors and no more "ma'am"s

I read a funny e-mail by Mia Brickhouse today from TEAM USA... and it was a book idea for 'how TEAM USA ruined my life' ... It was so much fun and none of us really wants to return to 'real life'. One of my goals for life is to figure out how women can play this sport as a job - even if they have to supplement their incomes in the off-season. It is truly a moment in history that we had to appreciate what life could be like.

This weekend I vow to finish writing about the experience, post all my photos and write my thank you notes. I am so far behind but I do need to remain employed.

My big news is that my contact with a high school football coach earlier in the year has become a cool opportunity for me to help coach the freshmen team at the school. I am working with two good coaches (one specializes in offense, one defense) and two other assistants who are funny in their own ways. More on them later.

I met with the head coach Monday which I realized was an interview when I was sitting in his office. Apparently I had already impressed him and it's been really a whirlwind since then.

Wednesday was our first practice of the year "officially"; they can be in full pads on Monday, so we'll really turn it up then. The first day, I assumed I would be really just there to observe and start getting to know what was going on, but I ran an agility station, helped with a tackling station, worked on stances and the fit drill with the OL and really tried to just listen and soak it in with the DL. Then again, when I met with the head coach, I figured they'd just let me hang around, learn the offense and see how they did things - and here I am a coach... Can't believe it all happened just this week!

It's exciting because I really feel out of my comfort zone with the whole thing. I'm jumping in headfirst and hoping that it'll work out.

I feel really comfortable with the situation generally because the head coach is a fan of me and what I've accomplished as a player. From what I've talked with him about and read in terms of his policies, he has a coaching philosophy that suits me. He doesn't allow parents to coach if their kids are on the team because as he put it: "it hurts the kids" which is true. Most often, people assume coaches' kids get a pass or are given opportunities because of the relationship - and I appreciate his eye for that detail. I asked him if the coaches were comfortable with me joining the staff at all and so late, he said they were... and it truly seems to be the case. I told him I was comfortable with the pressure / dissatisfaction that might come along with it from others, as I've dealt with it before, and his exact words were: "If that's all they are worried about, we're doing great."

It has been a little mindbending so far because the school runs the Wing-T, and I've never worked in it before. I understand the concept and have been studying film and trying to collect the resources I need from the other coaches (as everyone uses slightly different things for their own use). I need to study and work this weekend on understanding all that we have to teach this week and also whatever I can. I hate being asked a question and having no clue. It will also work against me in this endeavor because they are rightfully a little suspicious of me. Two nights ago, a boy asked me something about our secondary and I had no idea about and passed off to the other assistant. It hurts my credibility and I know they are watching to see if I am legit at every pass.

And, honestly it's fair. I've had some coaches over time who have bs'ed, or not really taught the details / fundamentals, or haven't been prepared. That's frustrating. My one vow in this whole thing is to have the same attitude as when I'm a player: anything worth doing is worth doing well. I won't get as much out of this if I don't put more in, and I think this is a perfect level for me to start. The kids are open to changes, they are laying the foundation for their future playing careers, and they are pretty respectful.

The funny stuff so far has included:
- Me realizing the bags they use for agility are at least 2 inches taller than the ones I train with Coach Montgomery on. So far, I have fallen three times demonstrating = -200 points. I will defeat those bags.
- Someone stealing a new, but worn and sweaty, girdle out of a locker. My favorite was the coaches' commentary on it - "who steals a man's girdle!?"
- Me calling the plays for a dummy o, and subsequently losing track of what play I called. Umm... hello coach?!?
- The boys (and some coaches) who constantly call me "ma'am" to which I reply "coach". It is weird being "Coach Smith" because I've always just been "Roseanna".

There's some other inside stuff, but the advice from my colleagues this week: "Don't chew the gum."

I really feel like this is going to be fun. I'm already having a blast.


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