Learning what it takes to win a trophy…Thanks Dad (and Coaches)


My dad was my first coach and went to all my games in high school and at Ashland University.

Today is for anyone who has ever blown a whistle, buckled a chin-strap,
tied a shoelace, bit their lip, taken a knee, paid rent, bought dinner,
worked overtime, cut grass and given kisses goodnight – twice in 10
minutes. Happy Father’s Day.

My oldest daughter owns four trophies. She’s seven and just completed the first grade. Two are for dance, one is for basketball and one is for cheerleading.  Two are for longevity, one is for participation and the other is for her performance at basketball camp last week, where, despite missing three of the first four days with strep throat, she showed up the final day and walked away with one of the top awards. I was proud – no doubt – but a little taken back when she walked up the stairs, turned and announced: “Two more trophies and my collection will be complete!”

My daughter has four trophies. And doesn’t really know what it means to own one.

I fancy myself a pretty good “former athlete” at Bellbrook High School. Things that stick out to me include being the only freshman to dress for varsity football scrimmages, starting varsity basketball as a sophomore and graduating as part of the then-discus relay record. I earned a football ride to Ashland University.

I, however, didn’t own four trophies until sixth grade.

We didn’t get trophies back then unless we won something. We got certificates, a uniform, experience and entertained for participating.

Today things are different. Times have changed.

One thing that hasn’t?  Fathers. Father figures. Coaches. And their importance.

Today on Father’s Day we celebrate all those that have put us in our place, taught us how to elevate to higher ones and reminded us not to celebrate or vex too long regardless of what life – and the situation – throws at us.

There are some really good guys out there – at all levels – and today we need to applaud them. Today is for anyone who has ever blown a whistle, buckled a chin-strap, tied a shoelace, bit their lip, taken a knee, paid rent, bought dinner, worked overtime, cut grass and given kisses goodnight – twice in 10 minutes.

I was lucky. My first football coach was my dad – Tom Frantz. He was also my first inspiration. I remember repeatedly looking at the old Southwestern Buckeye League medal he kept in a box of memories by his bed. He earned the medal by placing in the 800 meters at the SWBL track meet as a senior at Milton-Union.

My senior year at Bellbrook, I got my medals, one each, for earning first team all-SWBL honors in football and basketball. They still hang in my office.

My dad played a little football growing up, but his biggest accomplishment there is being friends and high school classmates with Hall of Fame football coach and Dayton Flyer legend Mike Kelly.

My dad used to take me to Ohio State football games, Dayton basketball games and Cincinnati Reds baseball games. All impacted me.

In sixth- and seventh-grades my basketball coach was my future father-in-law.

In sixth- and seventh-grades we won trophies in basketball.

Jim Ernst graduated from Fort Loramie and like everyone there (kidding…kind of)  he played basketball and lived in a large family that farmed.

After relocating to Bellbrook, Jim coached us in basketball. In sixth-grade we became the first Wee Eagles team to win our own Bellbrook tournament. We got a trophy. We also won the Clinton-Massie Tournament (trophy). In seventh grade we won the SWBL tournament (trophy plus a medal and net).

Jim wasn’t our coach in eighth-grade. We finished second in the league. No trophy.

I started dating Jim’s daughter as a senior in high school. Today we’re married.  And have three kids….One of which we know has four trophies.

To her credit, our oldest child is a very good dancer. And she enjoys it immesnsely. She also plays soccer, cheerleads and wants to try volleyball. Basketball, however, is her favorite sport right now.

Our middle child – our second daughter – is four and plays soccer. She is pretty passionate about it too. Goals are her favorite thing. We’re explaining assists.

Our son is three and he wants to do everything: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling…you name it.

Thing is – so do I.

Being a dad is great.

Being a coach is too.

I plan on coaching my kids in as many sports as I can – girls basketball, football, boys basketball, baseball, etc.

Some aren’t wired that way. I am. And thankfully plenty of others are as well.

Today we celebrate them. And those that came before and will follow.

I always struggle with what to get my dad for father’s day, but I think in the end the best gift I can give him is to follow his lead and raise and coach his grandchildren the way he raised and coached me.

Thanks to my father – I know what it takes to win a trophy.

Soon his grandchildren will too.

Happy Father’s Day all.

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