The great Green Bay Packers Football Coach Vince Lombardi said: "Football is a great deal like life in that it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness and respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile."
Right now, across nearly every spare blade of grass in the St George Region, volunteer coaches are putting young boys and girls through drills, practice games and training sessions in order to get them ready for their next game in junior soccer, league, union, AFL and netball.
Even in this COVID-affected season, kids are preparing for the all-important finals and representative tryouts at the end of the season.
While it may look like the focus is on winning games, in reality the thousands of mums and dads coaches are preparing our kids for life outside of childhood and sport.
Sport teaches kids teamwork, dealing with adversity, respect for authority, disappointment and success and, most importantly, working in a team towards a common goal.
Every children's coach I've met tells me they get more out of it than they put in. But in reality they put in an enormous amount of effort and time to coach our kids.
There are many things that parents can do to help 'the coach'. Thank them for a great game, especially if they've just lost. Notice the improvement the team or your child has shown. Ensure kids are attentive and respectful to the coach. Never embarrass the coach by yelling at the referee - especially if it's a young referee! And lastly give the coach a thank you gift at the end of the season.
I suspect the great scourge of our time will turn out to be electronic games dominating the spare social hours of kids. The addictive nature of these games and the impact on young minds worries me greatly.
So thank you to all the coaches who give up their after-hours and weekends to keep our children active and for teaching them the lessons of life through sport.
We will thank you long after the season is over.