April 20, 2024

My Journey to The Senior Bowl- Part 3 – What coaching on the sidelines of youth football did for me.

In most every child’s sports career they begin at the” youth” level of competition. This level is for teaching fundamentals of the specific game they are playing for that season. This level is intricate in the development of the young athletes understanding and knowledge of not only how to play the game as an individual but also as a teammate.

Since 1967, Shelby Youth Sports {SYS} has been providing boys and girls of Memphis and its suburbs a league featuring football, baseball, track and field, and cheer to participate in. Teams in this league include the Memphis Bears, Arlington Tigers, Bartlett Panthers, Collierville Dragons, to name a few. The league gives not only its players but also its coaches who are volunteer an opportunity to learn and grow as well. This league was incredible to me and expanding my mind of the game of football. I was blessed to work with some great men and coaches in my time with BYS.

Mickell Lowery

Memphis residents may recognize the last name. Yes, Mickell is son of legendary Memphis City Council member, Myron Lowery, who served for years in that role. When I met Mickell, he was working for FedEx. He was the first head coach I got to work under, and he was incredible. He had a calming yet confident presence about him that was contagious. We won many games on the sidelines together and I will always cherish not only my friendship with him but getting to learn and work beside him on the sidelines. Mickell has now followed in his fathers’ footsteps by being a member of the Memphis City Council and is doing an incredible job in his role.

Alan Macferran

 The first assistant to take me “under his wing” was a guy I sill call “Big AL” or Alan Macferran. Alan had multiple sons come through the SYS ranks when it came to football and had been involved in the upper levels of the program at Bartlett. Alan is a guy that when he walks in the room, he demands the attention immediately. He also had this presence on the sideline. He was loud at times but at his core he is a huge teddy bear. He and I still have a strong relationship as he is the owner of B.A. Masks, a sports facemask company, and he sponsors a show on the 4 Star Sports Media Network.

There were other great men who I worked with while at BYS but these two will always stand out to me. While it was great to gain friendships with the men I coached with, it was the kids that made the most impact on me.

It’s All About the Kids

When you get down to the basics of youth football one thing will always remain the same. At the end of the day, it is all about the kids. I had an opportunity to touch many kids lives while coaching for SYS but what they don’t understand is that they at times touch our lives as coaches more. I could name players for hours that impacted me as a young man, but it would not be right to leave anyone out. The kids we coached are all grown up now, but it still melts my heart to hear or see them still call me “Coach Wes”.

As I reflect all these years later, I smile. I smile because I changed young men’s lives for the better through my coaching and genuine care for them. I smile because I can still remember day one of practice. The first day where it was all fresh for them. As the season went on you can see them understand, grasp, and execute what we as coaches had been teaching. Seeing young men that we coached with and against continuing their playing careers has been beautiful to watch. Watching them grow up into great young men in the world makes it all worth it. That is when I know that we did a great job as coaches. Its not about how many games we won or how many points we scored.

It is about the young adult we helped to mold through football.

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