By Buck Roggeman, President of TCCC
It happened twice a week at 5:45 in the morning while I was growing up in Tucson, Ariz.
Without fail on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, my dad, a college football coach, would pop his head in my bedroom and ask me and my brother, Rock, if we wanted to lift weights.
And every week on those two days, we rubbed the sleep out of our eyes and lied to Dad, “Sure.”
Then we would plod out to the backyard and begin a power lifting regimen that would last about an hour.
Rock was in high school and I was in junior high when we had those pre-dawn workouts with Dad. It was hard to drag ourselves out of bed to lift in the dark with nothing but a flashlight to guide us.
As difficult as it was for us to get up, I never considered how hard it must have been for Dad. I’m 46 years old now and Dad was about the same age when the three of us were working out together.
The lesson I took from those years was that Dad never had to tell my brother and me to work hard because he showed us. He set a great example. He taught us how to attack a work out, driving ourselves to set a personal record. He was lifting on those same rusty weights, getting up just as early as we were, and pumping iron just as aggressively as the two of us.
And he was in his mid-40’s.
The best aspect of the whole experience was the occasional spontaneous conversation that we slipped into like a pair of comfortable slippers before the sun rose. I had no idea then, but the three of us were building a bond that lasted a lifetime in our shared effort to improve.
Later, my brother and I followed Dad’s lead and became football coaches – Rock at the college level, me at a high school. Like Dad, I joined my teams in the weight room and ran Monday goal posts with them for conditioning. Rock would take his turn on the blocking sled and match his players on the chin up bar.
If you are a coach who’s still in good physical condition, you can learn from Dad’s example. Work out with your team, and they will remember you forever.
You do not have to try to keep up with the athletes or exceed their efforts. Just the fact that you are in the weight room or on the track showing them how to work at a high level of intensity will make a difference. They will appreciate the sweat you are contributing to their conditioning.
You will also be modeling great behavior for them. If you are willing to work out when you do not have to, it shows the players that they can do it too.
So don’t be afraid to jump in the pool, punch the blocking sled, or grab a jump rope with your team.
Dad is 81 now, and I still remember him bench pressing 315 pounds three times.
The cool part is that he was 55-years-old when he did it.
How many of us will be able to say that?