Coach, Dad and Dave

Illustration by Isabella Schreckhise

Emmie Smith
Guest Writer

My Dad’s name is Dave. But Dave isn’t Dad at practice.
My dad has been my coach for as long as I can remember. Our journey started when I was about six or seven years old. I decided I wanted to play basketball with my cousins, so we signed up for Ketchikan Dribblers League.
Dave decided he wanted to be our coach and there it began, the start of an eleven year experience that I will never forget. We tried other sports as well, including softball, which he also coached, for about three years. Nothing was ever as fun as basketball. It was something that my dad and I could wake up on Saturday morning at nine, go to the Rec Center at ten, and spend an hour practicing together.
He did things for me that I never really noticed or thought about much until now – shoe shopping, meetings, paperwork he had to do for the team, rides he had to give the other girls, and many more.
He always gave me the best opportunities. I always had rides, even to early morning basketball with John Brown.
On the drive home from practice last month, after partially dislocating my shoulder, we started talking about my basketball career. He revealed to me that he never expected to see me make something out of myself in this sport. He explained that all those mornings he drove me, he never expected his “lanky, awkward, uncoordinated daughter” to ever make it to the high school varsity practice, let alone get any playing time.
He told me that he expected this all to end in disappointment for me. That he was just hoping to spend time with me and make the most of it. He then told me that he was proud of me for finding a way to stay in it and be successful.
At first I wasn’t thrilled about being called awkward and uncoordinated, then I processed the rest of what he said.
We have both realized that this experience, although long and sometimes very frustrating, is one that we would never change. All of the hardships and disappointments I have faced in this sport, are ones that would be much harder without his advice. Though not always wanted, his input is always something I’ve needed. I would not have the relationship I have with my dad today if we were not forced to spend so much time together. The majority of our varsity squad has been coached by Dave, and in his last year with the program, they are very sad to say the least. There is something to be said about a man who was never very good at basketball, but could help turn so many girls into the people they are today, just by being supportive, open minded, and caring. I am very thankful that I had the chance to be coached by Dave Smith.

2 thoughts on “Coach, Dad and Dave”

  1. awesome tribute – wise daughter, wise dad…I love the line, ..”he was just hoping to spend some time with me…” what if every dad did that/had the opportunity to do that? Let’s build strong daughters – every one.

  2. It’s awesome that Emmie recognizes this now while she’s able to write a tribute to her Dad, and it’s even more heart-warming that they got to share so many years together…a bond that will forever be sealed and remembered.

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