A grin comes across the face of assistant coach Todd Ward as he looks on in the Broncos’ game against Wichita Falls. That grin soon becomes the face of disappointment. Those are just some of the emotions that he experiences for 10 Fridays a year.
That’s because Ward’s son, Cy Ward, a junior, is the starting quarterback for the varsity football team. This makes a typical Friday night even more difficult.
“The hardest thing has been trying to balance being a coach and a dad,” the elder Ward said. “On the sidelines watching Cy play, I’m hoping he plays well and I’m hoping he doesn’t get hurt. Just because I’m his coach doesn’t mean I’m not his parent, too.”
Cy doesn’t notice much difference during the normal day with his dad being on the sidelines and at practices.
“Having my dad as a coach really isn’t anything out of the ordinary,” Cy said. “My dad doesn’t treat me any differently from everyone else, but I do feel like I need to work harder than the other players.”
First-year head football coach Kevin Atkinson has enjoyed having the father-son combination on the squad.
“I like being around them, and they’re good people,” Atkinson said. “It works out well. I treat players like they’re my sons. It’s not different for me to coach Cy or to have his dad as a coach. They get along just like anyone else.”
Atkinson also hopes to use the things he has learned from the Wards with his son, Colton, who will be entering ninth grade next year.
“His dad might be a little bit more standoffish than some might believe when it comes to directing Cy on the field,” Atkinson said. “But I hear coach Ward say to Cy, ‘good job’ or ‘concentrate …’ I think it works out really well, and gives me practice for my son one day.”
Despite not noticing much difference on the field, there are a lot of pros and cons off the field.
“One of the pros about having my dad as a coach is that I’m able to chill out in his office and watch film,” Cy said. “That’s something other kids can’t do, but a con is that I get yelled at a lot more than other players, not only on the field but also at home.”
But both Cy and his dad can distinguish between when to have fun and when to be serious.
“My favorite thing to do with my dad is watching college football on the weekends,” Cy said.
Cy’s mother also gets caught up with the father-son relationship at home.
“Todd is very supportive of Cy and the moods when they get home depend [on] if the game ended good or bad,” Cristal Ward said. “Todd enjoys coaching Cy and has looked forward for many years to coaching him and is proud of the man Cy has become.”
Just like on the field, there are both positive and negative situations outside the sports world.
“I have to be on my best behavior all the time,” Cy said. “If I do something or get in trouble, everyone knows, including my dad.”
TANNETH OXFORD is a sophomore at Denton High School and a participant in the Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.