It’s all about the smiles on dials

Parkin up for national award

Parkin up for national award

PASSING IT ON: Sam Parkin with members of the Eastern Junior Football girls’ under-10 team at a training session at Watson Park. With Parkin are (from left): Jade McVey, Bonnie Harris-Reader (obscured), Lucy McDiarmid, Natalie Land, Charlie Leeper, Riley Lewis (obscured) and Cleo Parkin. Picture by Paul Rickard

SAM Parkin doesn’t see anything special in his coaching of the three junior football teams he takes.

Others do, though.

Parkin, a 34-year-old maintenance man at the Waikanae Beach Holiday Park, was named junior coach of the year for the Central Football region, which encompasses Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Taranaki. He was one of seven regional winners to be nominated for the national award in the McDonald’s Junior Football Coach of the Year Competition.

While he did not win the national award, he received gear, footballs and training equipment as part of his regional prize.

Volunteers coaching four-to-12-year-old children are eligible for the awards, which recognise positive behaviour on and off the pitch, support for players from the touchline, the introduction of new players to the game, and help in the community.

Asked what he liked about coaching junior footballers, Parkin said: “The enjoyment you see on the kids’ faces . . . and it’s good to be able to put something back into the game; the same goes for refereeing.”

He started coaching 10 years ago, taking charge of the OBM Eastern League Division 1 team in his mid-20s after a head injury curtailed his playing career. He had also played for Gisborne Thistle in the Hawke’s Bay competition.

Parkin was playing for OBM when he received a blow to the temple in a clash of heads.

“My brain had a 10-millimetre shift to the side and I had a subdural haematoma — a blood clot on the brain.”

It was not picked up straight away. He had an X-ray at the hospital and was allowed home with the warning to watch for the symptoms of concussion. On the Monday he was vomiting and went to the doctor, who looked into his eyes and had him taken to hospital, where a computerised tomography (CT) scan detected a bleed on the brain.

An air ambulance took him to Auckland, and surgeons operated. They cut “a big question mark” in his temple, took out the side of his skull and sucked out the blood that had built up.

“I have titanium screws and stuff holding things in place,” Parkin said.

“I was in Auckland for three or four days, then came back here for a week in hospital before I went home to start my recovery.”

He had “the odd game” after that.

“The doctors said once you break a bone it heals up almost twice as hard as before. I played with rugby headgear for a while, and started refereeing when my kids became older. I wanted to spend more of my time with them rather than travel around the countryside playing football.”

He noticed that while schools had numerous teams in the primary school grades, few people were available to coach. In many cases a parent — not necessarily one with any background in the game — would step into the breach.

“Mangapapa, where my kids go to school, has 18 teams in the primary grade. That’s a lot of kids who want to play football.”

When eldest child Ella, now 12, was five he coached her team. Next it was Cleo, now 9. And Harvey, nearly 6, has just started playing, with Dad as coach.

Ella is now more interested in other pursuits, but Cleo is “right into” football, and Parkin also coaches her in the Eastern Junior Football girls’ under-10 representative team.

Harvey’s team enjoyed their training sessions so much that a teacher suggested Parkin take Harvey’s junior class for the last half-hour of school one day a week for extra “training”. They love it. Evidently, so does Parkin.

• This year about 1200 children played football in Gisborne’s primary school leagues, and between 260 and 300 youngsters played in the two super leagues. Those are the figures from Central Football Poverty Bay operations manager Neil Aitkenhead. Every Saturday morning during the season, 66 primary school games were played, and between 2000 and 2500 people went through the Watson Park gates.

SAM Parkin doesn’t see anything special in his coaching of the three junior football teams he takes.

Others do, though.

Parkin, a 34-year-old maintenance man at the Waikanae Beach Holiday Park, was named junior coach of the year for the Central Football region, which encompasses Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Taranaki. He was one of seven regional winners to be nominated for the national award in the McDonald’s Junior Football Coach of the Year Competition.

While he did not win the national award, he received gear, footballs and training equipment as part of his regional prize.

Volunteers coaching four-to-12-year-old children are eligible for the awards, which recognise positive behaviour on and off the pitch, support for players from the touchline, the introduction of new players to the game, and help in the community.

Asked what he liked about coaching junior footballers, Parkin said: “The enjoyment you see on the kids’ faces . . . and it’s good to be able to put something back into the game; the same goes for refereeing.”

He started coaching 10 years ago, taking charge of the OBM Eastern League Division 1 team in his mid-20s after a head injury curtailed his playing career. He had also played for Gisborne Thistle in the Hawke’s Bay competition.

Parkin was playing for OBM when he received a blow to the temple in a clash of heads.

“My brain had a 10-millimetre shift to the side and I had a subdural haematoma — a blood clot on the brain.”

It was not picked up straight away. He had an X-ray at the hospital and was allowed home with the warning to watch for the symptoms of concussion. On the Monday he was vomiting and went to the doctor, who looked into his eyes and had him taken to hospital, where a computerised tomography (CT) scan detected a bleed on the brain.

An air ambulance took him to Auckland, and surgeons operated. They cut “a big question mark” in his temple, took out the side of his skull and sucked out the blood that had built up.

“I have titanium screws and stuff holding things in place,” Parkin said.

“I was in Auckland for three or four days, then came back here for a week in hospital before I went home to start my recovery.”

He had “the odd game” after that.

“The doctors said once you break a bone it heals up almost twice as hard as before. I played with rugby headgear for a while, and started refereeing when my kids became older. I wanted to spend more of my time with them rather than travel around the countryside playing football.”

He noticed that while schools had numerous teams in the primary school grades, few people were available to coach. In many cases a parent — not necessarily one with any background in the game — would step into the breach.

“Mangapapa, where my kids go to school, has 18 teams in the primary grade. That’s a lot of kids who want to play football.”

When eldest child Ella, now 12, was five he coached her team. Next it was Cleo, now 9. And Harvey, nearly 6, has just started playing, with Dad as coach.

Ella is now more interested in other pursuits, but Cleo is “right into” football, and Parkin also coaches her in the Eastern Junior Football girls’ under-10 representative team.

Harvey’s team enjoyed their training sessions so much that a teacher suggested Parkin take Harvey’s junior class for the last half-hour of school one day a week for extra “training”. They love it. Evidently, so does Parkin.

• This year about 1200 children played football in Gisborne’s primary school leagues, and between 260 and 300 youngsters played in the two super leagues. Those are the figures from Central Football Poverty Bay operations manager Neil Aitkenhead. Every Saturday morning during the season, 66 primary school games were played, and between 2000 and 2500 people went through the Watson Park gates.

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Maree - 2 months ago
Well done and congratulations Sam, you deserve to be our region's winner. What a great father you are to your children and a great role model for our youth. The smile on your face shows your enjoyment for life.

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