Being a coach’s kid isn’t easy – neither is coaching your kid | News

It’s not easy being a coach’s son. And it’s not easy for a coach to be the father of one of his players.

While the experience certainly has its awkward moments, it’s a lifelong bonding experience for parent and child. I grew up playing for my dad in a variety of sports and then coached my kids when they were growing up.

I miss those days, but I will always fondly remember the memories we made over those years, both as a son and then as a parent.

For Dublin High boys’ basketball coach Tom Costello, the years of coaching his sons Nick and TJ are coming to an end. Nick has already moved on to college, while TJ is a senior on the Gaels basketball team.

Costello also has two younger daughters – Sydney, a sophomore, and Riley, a middle schooler – and he has coached both, but we’ll talk about that later.

“It was an amazing time,” Tom said of training the two boys. “It’s something we will always remember.”

As the boys grew up, Tom was there to coach every sport the boys participated in, even soccer.

“He was a terrible football coach,” joked Nick, who is now playing his first season for the UC San Diego baseball team.

“I was a horrible football manager,” Tom confirmed. “I just gave them nicknames. When they asked for coaches, I said “OK, I’m in”.

But the important thing is that Tom was there, as he was for the boys throughout high school.

Nick, being the oldest, was the first to venture into the father-son/coach-player high school dilemma. To begin with, the children grew up in Pleasanton, attending K-8 school in Pleasanton.

But Tom was the college basketball coach in Dublin and when Nick reached eighth grade it was time to make a decision.

“That decision was a bit hairy,” Tom said of Nick choosing Dublin over Amador – the alma mater of his parents and uncles. “Nick was the pioneer. I told him that I didn’t want to coach against you. You have to make a decision, or I have to make a decision.

Nick chose to follow Tom and headed for Dublin. And then the dad being the coach, the chatter started.

“When you first walk onto campus, you’re the coach’s son,” Tom said. “No matter what you accomplish, it’s because you’re the coach’s son.”

According to Jennifer Costello, Tom’s wife and mother of the kids, Nick was the perfect start.

“I think with Nick, he just rolled with it,” Jenn said. “He’s a type of kid who goes with the flow.”

Nick going to Dublin, at least in his first year, significantly altered the Costello family’s daily schedule.

“The year Nick went to Dublin, I think my car got attached to my body,” Jenn said of transporting the kids to school, training and home. “We had Wi-Fi in the car, so the kids could still do their homework. One of the children always had a place he needed to be.

Nick’s freshman year in the sport wasn’t a major issue as he wasn’t in college. But during his sophomore year, Nick made the varsity basketball team.

“I was very careful not to put Nick in an awkward position,” Tom explained. “Nick had to earn every minute of his playing time. I wasn’t playing him as much as he should have been, and his teammates had to come up to me and ask me why Nick wasn’t playing more.

I remember seeing Nick play as a sophomore and there was no doubt that he belonged on the field. He and TJ are terrific athletes, easily in the top echelon of their respective EBAL classes.

But that doesn’t matter to some people who only see the coach’s son play and not their own.

Just like Jenn said, Nick handled it in stride.

“You always have these people who think your dad is the reason you play,” Nick said. “People are always going to think what they want to think. You can’t let that bother you.

TJ also had the option of going to school in Pleasanton or joining Nick and his father in Dublin. He was also ready for what comes with playing for your dad.

“It was the first time I played for him in a few years,” TJ said. “I was in – I’m not into all the drama.”

During a game in Monte Vista towards the end of the regular season, TJ was the butt of some not-so-kind taunts and barbs from MV fans.

“It was really my first taste,” TJ explained. “Sometimes it takes a heavy toll, but you just overcome it.”

The decision to attend Dublin was the right thing, with the positives far outweighing the negatives.

“Dublin High has been our life,” Jenn said. “They’ve been playing on this pitch since they were kids. It was really great fun to see them all together.

Still, those negatives are there.

It’s not just people at your own school who can be brutal, but students and parents at other schools who take the opportunity to go wild when Dublin comes to their school for a game, just like TJ has discovered in Monte Vista.

It wears Tom out when it happens.

“When the other team or the crowd sees them, they’re branded people,” Tom said of some of the boys’ experiences they’ve had with games on the road. “You feel bad for them and you feel responsible for putting them there. But they’ve both been through it and both are mentally stronger to be a coach’s kid.

Having your son play for you also has benefits. For example, the interaction with the boys and their teammates helped make Tom a better coach.

“We helped take care of the players,” Nick said. “We are more like messengers.”

Like helping Tom know what he needs to know about his players on a daily basis. As one of the students, as well as a teammate, they are more in tune with what is going on and that means keeping Tom up to date with any situation.

“A thousand percent,” Nick said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that. I walked into practice and my dad asked me if there was anything he needed to know. I would tell him to settle down with someone if he was having a bad day or check to see if someone was having a hard time. These are conversations that happened quickly. I knew my role.

TJ also agreed with Nick about being a sounding board between the team and their coach/dad.

“They know they can talk to me,” TJ said of his teammates. “They can get rid of some things and then I can talk to my dad. It’s like being a big brother. »

The two boys had different ways of making suggestions to their father regarding the team.

“Nick was very sneaky about making suggestions,” Tom said. “TJ, on the other hand, is the type to raise his hand in the middle of practice and say, ‘Hey coach, maybe we should try this’.”

“That’s absolutely right,” TJ said with a laugh. “But I was doing all of this with good intentions.”

Have there ever been times when the line between coach and father has blurred?

“We try to leave it in the car after we get home,” Tom said of most in-store chatter. “I try to be just a stay-at-home dad – they need both.”

A wonderful aspect of training your children is the memories you will take with you for the rest of your life. I went and it was great to hear Tom share the parts of the experience that made him smile.

“With Nick, the year we won EBAL in a double overtime game – the hug we got was everything,” Tom said. “With TJ, it was just starting to spend more time together. We got closer this year.

Now that TJ’s tenure in Dublin is coming to an end, Costello’s kids playing for dad time doesn’t necessarily have to come to an end.

Last year, with the odd spring COVID schedule, Tom had time off to assist with the Dublin varsity softball team, where Sydney got the starting shortstop spot as a rookie.

It also produced some hilarious memories.

While Nick and TJ rolled around with being a trainer’s son, Sydney took a different approach as a trainer’s daughter.

“She was very aware of that,” Tom said of his dad’s presence on the coaching staff. ” It was interesting. We’d come home and she’d be like, ‘Why did you say those lame quotes?’ Here, I was just trying to motivate the team.

Sydney laughs before answering if it’s true.

“Uh, well, not entirely,” Sydney said. “There were times when it was just dad and his sense of humor.”

Tom also must have laughed as he remembered another comment from Sydney.

“She told me there were 14 girls on the team who loved her and wanted to coach them next season, but there was one who didn’t,” Tom said, adding a good laugh.

Sydney mostly agreed.

“Everyone loved him,” Sydney said. “I was just thinking about him being my coach – keeping dad and coach separate. He is a good coach, he has a lot of wisdom.

As Riley prepares to enter high school, the future Dublin High football player moves the Costello family from the warm confines of the gym to winter nights outside.

“We’re not used to outdoor sports in the winter,” Jenn said. “It will require some adjustments.”

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