|High school basketball coaches also serve the role as parents|
|Friday, January 31, 2020|
A lot of parents coach their kids during youth sports, but at Pattonville High School, three parents still have the best seat in the house at every basketball game.
Coaches Donald Boyce, Lisa Foust and Kelly Thames watch from the sideline as freshman Paige Boyce, freshman Hannah Foust and sophomore Kellen Thames take the court every night.
“It’s really fun because he’s the only basketball coach I’ve ever had,” Paige said. “I don’t know anything different than him.”
Donald, a 1995 alumnus, is in his first year of coaching the girls varsity team and considers this job a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It’s kind of surreal because I played here too, and to have an opportunity to coach my daughter is like a dream come true,” he said. “I can’t really put it into words, it’s like ‘Wow, I remember when I was out there’ and now I’m watching my daughter out there doing her thing.”
Hannah plays on the girls JV basketball team coached by her mom, Lisa, a 1998 Pattonville alumna, and said she’s really the one that got her into playing the sport.
“Playing with her can be kinda stressful,” Hannah said. “The other players might think I’m only on JV because I’m her daughter.”
But Hannah was quick to say: “She does not play favorites.”
“Absolutely not. She’s earned her spot,” Lisa said. “She spent hours upon hours preparing before she got to the high school to make sure she was ready to go; not necessarily to be on the JV team, but just to make the freshman team. She's a pretty good ball handler so she gets bumped up every once in a while to be my No. 2.”
Kelly doesn’t take for granted that not every parent can attend every game and considers himself lucky to enjoy watching Kellen learn the game and get better each day.
“It's like a proud moment seeing him do something that he loves to do,” Kelly said. “It wasn't forced on him and he's always been a gym rat, so it's just seeing him live out his dream right now and I'm glad I’ve got a front row seat.”
Kellen is motivated by his dad who was named Mr. Show-Me Basketball in 1993 as a player at Jennings.
“I just want to get where he wanted to go,” he said. “He wanted to go to the NBA, and unfortunately he got hurt while playing at Mizzou, but I'm just here to take our dream and make it happen.”
The older namesakes are good at playing the roles of both coach and parent.
“On the sideline, I see him as both to me,” Paige said. “When I mess up, as my dad, he’s like I know you got this, but as my coach, he’ll be like ‘No, you need to do this next time.’”
For Kellen, it’s just two different things.
“He's gonna be my coach when we are between these lines, but off the court, he's gonna be my dad,” Kellen said. “He is always gonna be there for me.”
But what does Coach Thames say about Kellen’s game?
“He’s still got work to do.”
And what does dad say about Kellen’s game?
“He’s still got work to do.”
It’s the same thing.
“He’s got to always stay hungry, always be humble and listen to constructive criticism,” Kelly said. “He’s a great kid and a great player, but he can’t stay satisfied. He’s got to always be working.”
High school coaches get four years to work with athletes, and while these parents have spent a lifetime with their kids, they are enjoying the time they have at Pattonville together.
“I’ve got the blessing and the gift of watching my daughter, not only on the court during games, but during practice, and seeing her get better,” Foust said.
For Kelly, he’s almost reached halftime with Kellen.
“He’s a sophomore, and I get two more years with him,” he said. “It goes by so fast. I’m just looking forward to the next two years to see what he can do.”