The Great Ones…
Growing up, my thing was athletics. From the age of five through twenty-five, I was almost always “in-season.” For better or worse, my best efforts were reserved for workouts, practices, and games. As with every athlete, I eventually reached the pinnacle to which my abilities and work ethic could take me. Fortunately, I maintained my grades along the way and learned a drive for success to fall back on when my athletic life ended.
When you play as many sports as I did, you get to experience a wide range of coaches. Some good, some bad, and many in between. Every once in a while, though, you get to experience some great ones.
Great coaches are not always your friend, except when they are. They know when to push and they know when to pull. At one time or another, often through frustration, self-doubt, or shear exhaustion, you probably want to punch them in the throat. But you never would.
They command respect.
Sometimes they yell. Actually, they tend to yell a lot. Most of it good. Some of it bad. The good ones know to yell more “attaboys” than they do “gosh darn its.” In my experience, rarely did they cuss. Except for effect. And when they did, it was quite effective.
All the great coaches I’ve known are organized. Everything is planned. Variables that can be controlled are controlled. Variables that cannot be controlled are anticipated. Time and effort are managed and never wasted. Expectations are set, measured, and benchmarked. Accountability is not negotiable. Feedback is constant. Whether you like it or not.
The great ones have the ability to make a good player better and a great team legendary. They can also make a bad team learn about life. They have the ability to speak with a glance and to show their disapproval or pride with a crooked smile. They can bust your balls after a stupid play and then make you laugh about it in the film room the next day. Great coaches, like great fathers, make their players want to be better and to do better. They are true leaders in every sense.
Sometimes I think of my life as a giant jigsaw puzzle. Every piece is something that happened in my life that makes me the man I am today. Those pieces have been placed through the years by family, friends, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Day by day, they are still being placed. When I look back, some of the most important pieces (the most important lessons) came from great coaches that taught me a lot more than how to throw a football or swing a bat.
It’s been twenty years or so since I last played a “real” game of any sort. Exactly twenty-five years since I last put on a helmet with a face-mask. Today, I got a text that we lost one of the great coaches I once had. The hollow feeling in my gut was expected. Even though I hadn’t seen him for years, he made an impact on my entire life. I was one of many former players today who could still seem him hunched over on the sidelines, headset on, hands on his knees, with a look of determination as if he was about to make that next tackle.
Unfortunately, he didn’t make it to see these words in print. I do have faith that he’s out there somewhere. That he knows, that he feels the impact he had on the lives of so many of the men and women that he once coached.
And to the other great coaches that I had and continue to have to this day…I can only hope that we meet again and that I can give thanks. If not, perhaps this will make the rounds on the internet or Facebook or somewhere and that you all will read this and smile that crooked smile of approval. There are too many of you to list, but you’ll know who you are if you stumble upon this. From me and the hundreds of your former players, thank you.
Thank you for adding so many pieces to our puzzles and for making us the men and women we are today.
God speed, Coach. You are already missed.
-You can send questions or comments to Dr. Parrish at [email protected]
Advice To A 7th Grade Me…
It’s been right at thirty years since I walked up the steps of the “new” Canyon Middle School into the 7th grade. At that time, the internet didn’t exist, nobody had a cell phone, and computers consisted of hazy screens and green text made by a company called Wang.
It was certainly a different pre-teen world back then.
On so many levels, I cannot fathom the world in which our kids are growing up. On other levels…well, some things never really change.
I remember middle school to be a confusing time. I cannot say that I was bullied or unpopular or poor or mistreated in any major way. (By today’s standards, we were all mistreated in some way back then.) I think I did okay on the outside. Unfortunately, on the inside, I was filled with self-doubt and confusion about my place in the world. I was confused about who my friends were and their ever changing allegiances to me and to each other. I was confused about being a “nerd” because I made good grades. Every day in athletics was a proving ground. For certain, I was confused about girls and my feelings towards the fairer sex.
In common terms, I was in full blown puberty!
If I had a chance to go back in time and send myself some tips, these would be my bullet points:
- You and your friends are in the same boat. Confused. Alone. Hormonal. It never hurts to lend someone a hug or a bit of help or a shoulder to cry on.
- Try different things. It’s okay to fail at new things. Now is the time to explore and see where your passion may be.
- And don’t worry if you don’t have a passion or know what you want to be when you “grow up.” Just keep searching. Enjoy the journey.
- Work hard and smile a lot and enjoy each and every day. There are few feelings in life quite as satisfying as the feeling of exhaustion with your teammates after a long, hard, sweaty practice. Enjoy every moment you get.
- Never call anyone a name you wouldn’t use in front of your grandma. If you have an issue with someone, discuss it to their face. Never behind their back. Nothing good comes from calling people names and you are a better person than to do that.
- If you like a girl, tell her. If she doesn’t like you back, that’s okay. It doesn’t change who you are. At least you’ll know where you stand.
- When someone shows you who they are, through their actions or their words, see them for who they are. Your true friends will reveal themselves if you pay attention. Be loyal to those who show loyalty to you. Be fair to those who are not loyal.
- It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to fail. You will learn much more from failure than from success. Failure sucks, but regret is worse.
- When you do succeed, remain humble. Lift others up with you. True leaders have the ability to bring out the best in their contemporaries.
- Do not be afraid to explore your faith and to ask questions about God and religion. Be wary of those who have it all figured out. Spirituality is a journey, not a destination.
- Do not be embarrassed when a girl likes you and you do not feel the same way. Be respectful and honest. Never mean. Nor hurtful.
And a few bullet points for today’s world:
- Social media can be a playground for those who lack confidence. And often common sense. Learn to ignore those who cannot say to your face what they can type online.
- When an adult talks, put down your device and look them in the eye. For that matter, give your peers the same respect. Engage. Joke with each other. Quit looking at your phone.
- Phones and computers and game systems are not bad in and of themselves. Learn the art of putting them down and experiencing real life.
When all else fails, just follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you’d like them to treat you. That always works!
Go forth. Have fun. And prosper!
Until next time, keep smiling.
If you've resolved to have straight, white teeth with pink, healthy gums in 2018, then we can help! May you all have a safe and prosperous year!
What Can Dental Implants Do For You?
Titanium dental implants have revolutionized dentistry over the past thirty-five years. They are one of the few dental treatments that can truly change your life. Dental implants give people their teeth back.
One of the first really cool things that dental implants can do is replace a single missing tooth. If a tooth has been lost, dentists can put in a titanium tooth root and build the tooth back to its former self. This replaces more invasive procedures like dental bridges that reduce and weaken adjacent teeth.
Implant Overdentures: These are full sets of teeth that are supported and attached to dental implants. A denture that fits over and snaps on to a set of implants. A full upper or lower set of teeth can be made that snap in place. If you’ve ever worn a loose denture, you know how frustrating it can be. Implants help to solve this frustration.
Orthodontics (Braces): Implants are often used to help move teeth around. They can help dentists and orthodontists move teeth faster, gentler, and more efficiently by providing a stable anchor point.
Full Mouth Rehabilitation: Full sets of teeth can be made that are supported and screwed onto a set of dental implants. It’s a complex procedure, but it gives patients a full set of teeth that do not come out.
If you are missing one or all of your teeth, be sure to ask your dentist what options might be right for you.
I Love Being A Dentist...
“Dude, you’re going to be a dentist? Don’t you know that everyone hates dentists?”
These were the encouraging words from one of my best friends the day that I received my dental school acceptance letter in 1998.
I’m blessed that I ignored his theory.
While I understand that people would prefer to spend their time anywhere but the dental office, I made the right choice for me. I love being a dentist.
Our patients make it so.
We have patients that bring cookies for our team when they have appointments. Sometimes fresh eggs, or cakes, or kolaches show up. A few juicy rib-eyes made it in the door one time. On another occasion, an extremely nervous patient brought in a bottle of bourbon. We refrained in the office, but enjoyed it after hours. We have some patients that occasionally stop in just for a visit or a hug. Really. A hug. We have been blessed with advice, prayers, throw pillows, baby presents, paintings, thank you notes, and even a homemade quilt.
I’ve gained more knowledge from the people that I’ve met than all of the books in all of the schools that I have ever attended.
We have patients who are professional cowboys, teachers, writers, ranchers, doctors, and poets. We see kids from the age of toddler to the age of “know it all.” On any given day, our sitting area may house a mom, a lawyer, a preacher, and a politician. There is surely some joke about that group somewhere.
We have been inspired by patients and friends who have beaten cancer and those who love life and inspire others with their aura. We’ve seen patients overcome horrible accidents and crippling loss. Quite often, their stories of life make what we do seem small.
Most importantly, we’ve made friends. A lot of them.
We’ve heard stories of traveling the world and camping and graduations and hunting and family reunions. More and more, we are seeing kids grow up and move on and move out. We get to see pictures of grandkids and trophy deer and pet fishes. We get updates every 3, 4, or 6 months. Most of the news is good. When it’s bad, we hug some more.
Yes, dentistry is a rewarding profession. The rewards have nothing to do with teeth, though. The rewards are the people that share their lives with us.
Until next week, please, keep on smiling.
-Suggestions can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
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