By Logan Murdock / @Logan_Murdock
When I was six-years-old, my dad took me to Lakeside Park along the north shore of Lake Merritt, deep in the heart of downtown Oakland. Equipped with him were a football, a stereo and a curiosity of what his son could be.
We walked to the center of the grassy area adjacent to play structure and stood about 10 yards apart, preparing for our first game of “catch.” My first throw to him was a crisp seamless spiral that would make Tom Brady jealous.
My dad’s jaw dropped to the sodded floor.
My dad, a high school standout offensive lineman at Hoover High out of Fresno knew a quarterback when he saw one. From then on we both knew what I was gonna grow up to be.
One time when I was high school, I was getting into it with a coach about a play. My dad walked about 50 yards from the other side of the field to see what was going on. Once in the middle of the field, you could see the anger in his eyes. As he approached midfield, ready to tear coach a new one, we locked eyes. Immediately I shook my head “no” to stop him.
My dad stopped, sort of.
Though no words were exchanged between my dad and coach, you could cut the tension on the field with a knife. For the rest of practice, my dad stood behind the offensive huddle, making sure things were to his liking. Pops was known to make his presence known at my sporting events. If he wasn’t yelling from the sidelines, he was glaring from the stands, like Caesar from his throne.
When I came across the story of the arrest of Sean "Diddy" Combs, the renowned rapper-producer, for assaulting a UCLA football coach over an incident between the coach and his son, Justin, it brought me back to my childhood.
The story goes that after witnessing a strength and conditioning coach yell at his son during practice, Diddy became enraged and would later allegedly attack the coach with a crowbar. Diddy had been known around the team as a “helicopter dad’” because of the way he hovers over practice to watch his son. More from TMZ Sports:
Sources connected with Diddy tells us the rap mogul is adamant he acted in SELF DEFENSE and was not the aggressor. Our Diddy sources tell us ... Diddy insists the drama began during a workout session yesterday because strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi was "riding Justin badly" and told him not to come back until the end of the summer. Diddy went to the campus today to speak with Alosi -- believing he has an "issue" with Justin -- but things didn't go well when he arrived to campus.
Our Diddy sources say the coach would not see him and staff told him to leave ... but Diddy went to Alosi's office instead where Alosi told him to get out and threatened to call security if he didn't leave. We're told Diddy said, "Fine, I'll call police" ... and Alosi snapped -- going after Diddy with his hands. We're told Diddy insists he grabbed a kettlebell and held it up in a defensive position ... but did not attack with an intent to injure the coach.
This story illustrates what can happen when a parent oversteps the line between guardian and instructor. Sports are supposed to be used as a vehicle for kids to play with others under the supervision of another adult. When parents give off the responsibility to coaching staff, it should not be undermined as soon as the parent sees their kid getting yelled at.
Now we don’t know what was said to Justin to make Diddy go off. But the rapper’s constant hovering at Bruin practices probably did more to hurt the situation than help it.
That’s not to say that parents shouldn’t be welcomed to their kids’ practices. But the overburdens displayed by Combs can hinder a kid’s ability to grow. When a kid sees their parents literally fighting coaches on their behalf, it not only puts the kid in a terrible position, it prevents the coach from properly disciplining his player.
The constant presence of my dad didn’t fulfill his goal of raising my play on the field. In fact, it gave me great anxiety and made me feel unsure of myself, which brought the unintended consequence of mediocrity.
Diddy’s presence, like my dad’s, comes from a place of love. But that love shouldn’t give one license to overstep the sacred barrier between coach and player.
Like 16-year-old Logan Murdock wish he would’ve said to his pops.
It’s not worth it.
A Bay Area resident rooting for all things Los Angeles.