My favorite coach would have to be my dad, who dedicated countless hours devoted to teaching his kids teamwork, strategy, and the sheer enjoyment of playing sports competitions. My dad coached several of my teams. We won a lot of games together in baseball and soccer. A close second of my coaches was an assistant to my dad who reminded me a lot of the mentor in Karate Kid.
He was also named Mr. Miyagi. Safe fun was the main aspect he focused on. He had incentives for the offense and the defense and the whole team. If we won a game he would take the whole team out for ice cream for example. I remember how jovial he was, smiling and laughing, as we subbed out of a game. “Get some rest.” “Get some water.” “Oh, and get some candy for energy.” “You’re going back in soon.” He would say. We had jolly ranchers that I would suck on as I drank my water. Then I would get back into the game and play as hard as I could knowing we could sub at that age level as much as the coaches wanted.
Then I graduated from the city league into high school soccer. I used to practice or play a game and then come over to help my dad and his assistant with their soccer team. I would run drills and play keep away and give their team a higher level of offense to defend against. One day I came hobbling over after a high school scrimmage. I had twisted an ankle. It was already swelling and bruising.
Mr. Miyagi wanted to take a look. He was a scientist and had a doctoral degree. He knew a lot about musculature, ligaments, and bones. He held my calf in one hand and my ankle in the other, examined it, rubbed and pinpointed some areas to see where it hurt. Only twisting it hurt. He distracted me momentarily. With a quick painful twist, I yelped, but amazing relief followed and I was able to play without difficulty the next day.