Hoops fathers share unique connection with sons

PVL Pipeline
By: Dave Krizman, Journal Sports Columnist
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“It’s great,” are the two words Geoff Broyles and Mike O’Connell, head basketball coaches of Del Oro and Colfax, respectively, agree upon. Both coaches are fortunate to have their sons on their varsity squad this year. Broyles’ son, Jordan, is a sophomore on the Golden Eagles squad, and Robert is a junior on O’Connell’s team. Both coaches are in an enviable position to see their respective sons improve on the court, but more importantly, both coaches have the time and connection to teach their sons and fellow teammates “life lessons.” “I’m trying to teach life lessons to everyone on the team,” O’Connell said. “Imparting these life lessons is an important part of coaching at the high school level.” Broyles, in a separate interview, echoed O’Connell’s sentiments. “Some of the life lessons I try to introduce to my son along with his teammates is developing resiliency, facing adversity and figuring out how to deal with it. These are invaluable tools, learning how to cope. Playing on a sports team requires the players to work hard, make sacrifice for others, assume responsibility, and be held accountability for your actions. All of these can be accomplished through sports.” While both coaches focused on their obligation to teach lessons that will extend beyond the court, Broyles and O’Connell also addressed the joy of spending time with their sons. “It’s great,” O’Connell said. “It could not be better. We both share a passion for the game. At dinner, Robert will talk all the time about the upcoming games. He’ll want to know what the match-ups are and what I know about the upcoming teams. It’s a conversation between father and son about a shared passion.” O’Connell has coached his son since the 7th grade. As both a coach and parent, O’Connell walks a thin line of, “giving him a fair shake and not be too critical while at the same time treating him as only one member of the team.” Robert has enjoyed the time being coached by his dad. “He’s taught me how to play so far, and he has given me no special treatment,” he said. “I really like being coached by my dad.” Broyles has enjoyed coaching his son Jordan and commented on, “seeing his growth and maturity. It has been a dream.” Broyles also addressed the perception that coaches often favor their son over other members of the team. “At first, it can creep into your head, but you are trying to do the best for the team and everyone on the team,” he said. “You just can’t let in enter your mind. I have never been confronted by a parent or player about showing favoritism towards my sons. Both coaches were especially happy knowing that they could see their sons everyday for hours on end. Something that many parents wish they could experience.