For the love of the game
As a kid growing up in Glasgow nothing made me happier than running around playing football with friends; be that during school, with football teams or having a good ol' kick about with friends. Now, just because I loved the game didn't mean I was ever any good at it. I'm not one of those guys that gives it the 'big un' saying they could've made it professionally if it wasn't for this, that and the other. No, I was never anything better than an average player in my age group. My best attribute was my lightening quick speed and incessant thirst for a slide tackle, combine both those attributes though and the end result is a hospital visit for someone! As I've said though, I loved the game so it was never about ability more about taking part. Once I had reached the age of around fifteen and in the midst of high school the taking part started to fade away much to my disappointment. I had reached the age where other lads my age wanted to start going out drinking at the weekend and couldn't be bothered with football whereas I had no interest in those activities at the time. So as a result I only ever got a kick about with my younger cousins up until it started to be frowned upon joining in on their games at twenty years old! So I then found myself in a bit of a dilemma... Am I happy not being in and around football games, only being a spectator from that moment on? Well the answer to that question was a definite no. With that question answered the only thing I could think of was to start coaching football instead. I knew I was never going to get a professional job coaching but I wanted to be involved in the game somehow.
Luckily for me my friends dad helps to run my local community centre and through that connection I was able to get myself a voluntary job coaching under 12's which was initially just a kick around for the lads when I joined. After a couple of months in the job and after constant badgering from the boys convincing me to get them a proper team started up I finally relented. However, before I could do this I had to get myself some badges to really get myself on the coaching ladder. With some funding from the community centre I was able to make the initial steps required to coach the age group I was intending to work with. In the time that it had taken me to get those first coaching badges the start of a new season was around the corner and we were able to get our new team registered for our debut campaign. With a bunch of lads not very well accustomed to discipline and structure much less tactical familiarity I knew I had a major battle on my hands that's for sure. However, as it was for me growing up, football was an escape from lives pressures and worries for them and that began to show on the pitch as my initial worries started to fade.