Growing up in a small town, everyone is known for something. Whether it be your family, your skill set, or even your reputation- everyone knows everyone. For me, I was always known as “The Coach’s Kid.”
Being the Coach’s Kid is something I knew I would be accustomed to since it is a family tradition. My dad was a coach, and his dad was a coach. My uncle was a coach, and even my mother’s father was a coach! Coming from a coaching family, I knew what I was in for. You have to have thick skin and take everything with a grain of salt; however this was always a struggle for me due to my anxiety. I have no regrets though; it taught me a lot about life. I learned to be less naïve, and knew that I was always a representation of my father (whether he liked that or not!)
Being the coach’s kid is not what everyone thinks it is. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, and things are NOT handed to you on a silver platter. You are held to higher standards, and there is a lot of pressure to always perform and be better – not just from society, but from your Coach, aka Dad. You’re put on this pedestal of not wanting to let everyone down, including your own father. Him being “disappointed” in me was the worst feeling as a kid – even more so than just being mad.
On the outside looking in, there is a stigma that athletes have special privileges, especially if you have inside connections. Society would say, “Oh she has it easy!” I was seen as privileged, or given certain benefits when this simply wasn’t true. In reality, I had to work that much harder like I had something to prove. I never wanted to let my Dad down, as a player or as his daughter.
Don’t get me wrong, my Dad balanced it all very well! At home he was Dad, and on the court he was Coach. But of course, coaching was always a part of my Dad. That’s something that is hard to escape when you spend more time in the gym than you do at home.
The other downside of being labeled “The Coach’s Kid” is social. Some people are scared to get too close to you. You rarely get invited to parties, or other things kids your age are doing (some that they probably shouldn’t), just for fear that your coach/parent will find out. It was always a tough spot to be in. I remember one time all of my friends were going to a big party. I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to go, but I still wanted to be included. I was told by a friend, don’t tell Lauren about the party. We don’t want it to get busted. I was heart-broken. I knew I wasn’t going to go, but at least an invite would have sufficed. This happened multiple times during my high school years. I was damned if I went, or I was damned if I didn’t.
Throughout my years of being the Coach’s kid, I learned a lot. The way I approach life now is so much different thanks to that specific label. I know things are not just given to you in life because of who you are, you have to work for it – sometimes even harder than most. I am my own person, and I’ve learned to take criticism and channel that to make myself even better. It’s not to prove the haters wrong, but to prove to myself I am more than just “The Coach’s Kid.”