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Saturday, February 26, 2011

American Football Coach Moon Style

Some of you may know that my father was a prominent and highly successful American High School Football coach.  Tonight we watched the DVD of his championship game from 1981.  I was in college when this happened so I wasn't present to see this magical season unfold, but so many of the player's names became household terms that I feel like I knew them personally.  It was great fun to watch the game with my dad, listening to his commentary.  His memory from his coaching career is amazing.  He knows what play he called, what mistakes were made, what yardage was gained, who did what when and where!  His knowledge of the game is staggering and his love for the kids is even more moving.  Many of these former players have kept in touch with Coach Moon as my father was affectionately called and it is a real testimony to how big his life footprint really is.
At the end of the game, when his young team finally won the State Championship in triple overtime, you see my dad running across the field and then bear hug his defensive coordinator and long time friend Bob Salerno and then jump on him whilst the two of them shared a huge, warm, victorious embrace.  It brought some tears to my eyes because those two were such a dynamic duo and Bob passed away last year.  The triple overtime win ended up being an epic game in southern California high school football lore and changed the rules of California high school football forever...from then on, they never played overtime in the final game, but instead allowed the teams to be declared co-champions!
This particular DVD (made from old video tape) showed part of the locker room speech that Coach Moon gave after the game.  It was inspiring and thoughtful and very fun for me to see this as I had never seen footage like this before.  Watching my father impart wisdom upon these young kids made me realize how great it must've been to be part of these championship seasons as a player.  I loved being a fan and a family member, but to be part of the inner circle of players...now that's something.
One of my regrets in life is never having had the opportunity to play for a coach like my father.  I  know I'm bragging, but trust me, if you talk with the players who played for him, they will tell you what an extraordinary experience it was.  Some call it the best time of their lives and why else would so many of the players, now in their late 40's and 50's, want to keep in touch with him?  Because he offered them something that was indeed extraordinary.  I so wish I had in my history the opportunity to play on a team with an extraordinary coach at the helm.  Of course, I am very happy to be his daughter and share in family life and re-live these moments in such a warm manner, but for those of you who got to play for him and especially those on the championship teams of 1977 and 1981, I hope you realize how lucky you are.  To watch the magic unfold on DVD tonight was pretty special for me.  To remember the kids and the families that shaped our family life during those years brought back warm memories for me.
What I also learned tonight is how close he came to winning more championships.  He made the finals 6 times.  Lost one by 1 point.  Lost another by 3.  Of course, since I was a senior in high school when his team won the first championship, the 1977 win will always be the best ever.
At any rate, I am a happy that we took the time to watch this game and re-live some of his glory years.  I know I'm bragging, but if you can't brag about  your dad on your own blog once in awhile, why bother having a blog, right?!