My morning routine has been the same for months…..I wake up when my little puppy Lacey decides it’s time to get up around 8a.m., let her out with my son’s 2 bigger dogs, feed and water them then feed and water all the indoor pets, start the coffee pot, wash whatever dishes accumulated in the sink over the night thanks to the “Dish Fairies”, and turn the computer on.
I open my face book page and read any stories or updates that collected over night and then begin to play my “Farm” games….
Yesterday I got a real shock. When I opened my home page, there was a message from one of our coaches saying a dear friend had passed away….Coach Phil McKnight Sr. of the Rising Park Razorbacks.
My oldest grandson played for Phil his first 3 years here as a Razorback.
My 2 Nephews played for the Razorbacks, too.
Phil was a dear friend, a good christian, a great mentor and he demanded good sportsmanship from all his players and parents as well. He didn’t allow any cursing on the practice field or the sidelines from players, parents or other coaches. He never yelled or raised his voice. You knew by the look on his face when you did wrong. Phil had style….
We came to know his wife, Beth whose birthday just happened to be the same day as my daughter’s. We met his 4 sons; Chad, Phil Jr., Chris and Brett. All played football and went on to play basketball.
Two of his boys currently play for teams “across the big pond”, one started his own sports training business here and the youngest is in college playing basketball.
The Razorbacks had some bad seasons over the years. My grandson just happened to be on the team when they placed second in the league in 2004. Many years they placed in the bottom half of the teams, sometimes never winning a game….but Phil never gave up on them…..Every year for their banquet, his wife, Beth cooks most of the meal. Every year, no matter where they placed in the league, Phil made sure the boys and girls got a trophy of some sort….One year, he even made up special plaques for the 6th graders complete with a face mask and Razorback with their names on it. One year my grandson got a special trophy for the number of tackles he made all season.
No matter what team I cheered for, I always made sure that I got a hug from Phil that day. His smile was infectious.
Phil was known for standing on the fields during the games. All the other coaches couldn’t figure out how he didn’t get called on it more than he did. Everyone respected him.
Clearly 5 yards in!
He always asked about the family, and even tried to talk some sense into my daughter when she cut me off. Although my daughter respected Phil, she just couldn’t bring herself to admit that she would ever need me or want anything to do with me again…..but Phil insisted she needed to try.
For the past 2 years, the Razorbacks have been the City League Champions.
When I first knew Phil, I was knitting scarves….back then I was only doing the “Harry Potter” colors, but I made one with the Razorback colors just for Phil…. most people would be satisfied….Phil loved in but later he asked for a plain white one so he could wear it to church….I finally made it for him this year and gave it to him October 29th at the Championship game.
Phil had heart problems. For 2 years, he had problems with the internal defibrillator that was installed in his chest. More than once it went off when it shouldn’t have and he had to be taken from the football field in an ambulance.
This year, his team will have a heart wrenching banquet….It was supposed to be last Saturday, but got postponed until this Saturday….I’m sure it will get postponed again now…..
The local paper ran an article on the front page today about his passing. No news yet on a funeral….The family is probably waiting so all 4 sons can come home and they can find a place large enough to hold the crowd…..It will probably be a huge funeral….Phil touched so many lives….He will be greatly missed.
Rest in Peace dear friend! You will be greatly missed by many…May the Lord watch over Beth, Chad, Phil Jr., Chris and Brett….may the love we all have for you and your family carry them through.
God must have need another player on the football team……
Hugs and Love to all!!!
I hope in the end, people realize just how short life is…..and realize that nothing should separate family…not even a silly argument.