My dad is sick. He needs healing- supernatural healing. I’m praying for that. And I’m asking, if you’re reading this- that you pray that with me. “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
If there is one thing you should know about my dad, it’s that he is a coach. He can’t help it. For thirty years he was employed as a track coach, so that was his title, “Coach Lynn.” But coach he is in every breath. Just last weekend he helped my husband put up a microwave and I could hear him in there, “Okay, first we got to put this in… hold it here… sometimes you don’t always get it on the first try…” Instead of just playing with my boys, he’ll coach them. “Hold the bat here… put your elbow here…don’t jump from that high, you’ll hurt your knees…” Sometimes I would find it almost annoying, “Gosh dad, just let me bowl! I don’t care if I release at the wrong angle!” However, his ability to be coach is the reason I insisted on learning to drive with him and not my mom! Or why I always call him first when I need advice on how to talk to someone, or how to explain something. It’s his gift- to be a counselor, a teacher, an inspiration- a coach.
I remember my first day of practice as a freshman on the ISU track team. My dad officially coached the men, but with track it really was a united co-ed team. I was walking outside with two seniors, and my dad was walking passed us in the other direction. I had a silent quandary in my head, “Do I call him Coach, Coach Lynn, Dad, say nothing?” As he passed, the other girls were “Hey Coach!” “Hey Coach Lynn!” I’m thinking, ah crap, now I have to say something… “Hi Coach” I mutter out, you know because I had to fit in. And that’s when I realized, he’s “Dad” to me.
Since Friday night, I have received phone calls, text messages, and posts and messages on Facebook reaching out to my dad. Words of “I Love You, Coach!” “Praying for you, Coach!” “Wish I could be there, Coach!” “Be your stubborn self, Coach!” I made a Facebook Invitation page, ignorantly not knowing how to get the word out, Prayers For Coach, and already it has over 200 members and 500 likes. Hearing those words, the concern, the despair and frustration, the hope and the prayers, I realize, he’s more than just ‘my’ dad. He has been a father to so many.
Growing up, I remember him sharing stories about his guys and practice. About the time a sassy, confident kid from New York came to the middle of Iowa and almost laughed at the idea of running next to a white farm kid- only to be blown out of the blocks by that farm kid! (LaMont, he tells that story a lot!). And how it was always the big throwers who would get emotional at the senior banquet. Even all the arguments that took place at practice, like what’s more important, an Olympic Gold medal or a World Record? And how before they had a facility, and the guys would race from soda machine to soda machine around Hilton. I also remember a time, and I don’t know the exact details, but some coach somewhere got in trouble because an athlete of his had just lost his mother and he let that kid stay the night in his house. My dad was so infuriated by the fact that coach got in trouble. Saying he’d have done the same thing, regardless if he were fired or not. And I know he would have.
He loved his guys- and the girls too. To him it was never about how fast they were, it was about the men and women they became. He realized they were kids, they needed to have fun, they needed consequences, they needed to figure it out for themselves. He has never judged an athlete for choices, never condemned them, or resented them. He has always loved them- ALWAYS.
In fact, when he was let go from his title of “Coach Lynn” that’s what they told him, “Your downfall is that you put people first and not performance.” What a shame! Is that what certain people define as “Coach” these days? To them I say, good -riddance.
It is obvious to me, sitting here next to my dad in the hospital, who is now moving his foot when you touch him and slowly starting to breathe on his own, that not only is he loved, and not only is the power of prayer extremely evident, but that this Coach is the true definition, the true role-model of what a coach should be- a dad. Someone who loves unconditionally and without expectation. Someone who gives and gives. Who brags and brags about accomplishments both big and small. A coach is someone who tells stories to make a point (even if you’ve heard that story before- or 10 times before). Who will stay late, come early, and travel hundreds of miles to be with you. A REAL coach is no different than what a DAD should be. Someone who is there for you.
Thanks Dad, for being there for me- always. For being so much to so many. Know we are ALL here for you now. We are praying for and declaring your healing. We know you’ll be back- our Coach- our Dad!
“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91
Love you, Erica