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Your family: key to success.

It took me forever to understand the miracle of "family"--that to survive and be successful at my profession, I had to appreciate my family.


Like many coaches and athletic directors, I would work long hours every week. As many as 65 or more hours were commonplace. After all, I had responsibilities and things that had to be done--which often led to the neglect of my family.

I saw my son Matthew play high school basketball only five times in his career. He played at our neighborhood high school and I served at another school. It was even worse with a daughter, I saw only two of her field hockey matches. Fortunately, my wife filled in. She never missed a game. Remarkably, our children still love us.

The family makes unique contributions to professional success. They fill a wide variety of roles such as proofreader, short order cook, sounding board, security or gatekeeper, gofer, counselor or psychologist, and stress buster.


* Proofreader. My wife reads, critiques and corrects all of my written communication. This includes my articles, proposals, reports and coaching evaluations. Even though she occasionally detests this chore, she still does it--and it bails me out, since I am the world's worst speller.

* Short order cook. Very seldom am I home at normal meal times. Whenever I pull in, however, the leftovers are in a microwave container in the refrigerator. All I have to do is plop it in the microwave and nuke it. I always have a warm, nutritious meal. Am I ever lucky!

* Sounding board. In my position, I receive numerous calls and am involved in countless conversations, which have to remain confidential. Many are vexing, confusing, and frustrating, but cannot be shared with your coaches or teachers. However, this is where your spouse, "significant other," or family member may help.

This person knows you best and can often provide you with invaluable perspective and wisdom--without threatening the confidential nature of the communications. This family member is in the perfect position to serve as your sounding board.

Our family dog, Bailey, was also a great sounding board. I'd sometimes just have to talk through the tribulations of the day and Bailey would always lend a receptive ear. He never interrupted or offered his point of view. I was always right. Although occasionally he would nod off on me, he was always eager to repeat the session the next day.

You just don't find support like that!

* Security or gatekeeper. On those rare occasions when I am at home, I never answer the phone in order to protect my very limited private time. My wife and kids always screen the calls. They always respond, "Gee, I'm sorry he's not in. May I take a message?" If it is an extreme emergency, I'll call back. But 99% of the time, it can wait until the next day when I am in my office.

* Gofer. Without a secretary or assistant, I am a one-man show at school. On top of all the paperwork and messages to return, I don't normally have time to run all of the various errands that may be needed.

I'll often ask my wife to stop at the post office, purchase a power surge strip or find some thank-you note cards. These efforts save me enormous time that I can divert to other more pressing issues.

* Counselor or psychologist. No one knows me better, including myself, than my wife. When facing problems or difficult decisions, she will always provide valuable insight and wisdom.

* Stress buster. We all have those long, stress-filled days with one problem after another. While your spouse or family doesn't have to be a stand-up comic, it sure helps when they can get you to laugh. Laughter will take your mind off your daily difficulties.

Our children also helped. When the kids were younger, they would challenge and beat me in video games. My wife would play with the kids while I jogged a few miles to release the stress of the day.

When something has to be done or if there is a major problem, others may help bail you out. But your family is always there for help, support, and understanding. They are the bedrock for your professional life.

You can never thank them enough. Make it a point to express your appreciation of your family at awards banquets, take your "significant other" out to dinner or perhaps buy her flowers.

Dr. David Hoch, Director of Athletics, Loch Raven High School, Baltimore County, MD
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Article Details
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Author:Hoch, David
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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