June 16, 2010

Father's Day tribute to George McNally

Guest Columnist

Editor's Note: June is always a big month for the senior athletes at area high schools. There is graduation and the end of their scholastic careers - plus Father's Day. During previous Junes, Tom Williams, to celebrate the holiday, has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Tracey LeFever, Shaune McLaughlin, Erik Geisinger, the Degenhardt sisters, Joey Galante, Ron DeFelice, Chelsea Bruno and Doug Colman, among others, to write about their fathers.

This week Ocean City High School senior Danielle McNally, an all-state field hockey player, writes about her father, George, the boys basketball coach at EHT and boys tennis coach at OCHS.

There is not much I can say to honestly do my father justice. I spend time attempting to put into words how I feel about him and none of what I write is good enough. Instead of describing the man my father is, I've decided to explain the roles my father plays in my life and that of others.

My father is three people; father, coach and teacher. He balances each of these responsibilities, as well as working tirelessly to be the best father, coach and teacher he can be.

George McNally is an amazing father. He is a dad who loves to joke around and have a good time. He is constantly making my family laugh and helping us have a good time. My dad is a caring person who has always been there for my family and me. My dad has done many things for me. However, there is one moment in particular where he showed his compassion to me in a way I will never forget.

My junior year, following our loss to Wall Township in state semi-finals, I was completely devastated. I looked into the stands and of the countless faces I saw there, the one person I focused on was my dad. I walked over to him and he hugged me without saying a word. It was all the things he didn't say in that moment that made me appreciate the person he is.

My dad is responsible for coaching two varsity high school sports, basketball and tennis. He has dedicated his entire life to sports and his dedication is no more apparent than in the time he spends working for his athletes. Whether he is calling them on the phone, checking with their parents, talking to colleges, raising money for the team or just thinking of ways to help them play to their potential, my dad's role as a coach is year 'round, not just season to season. His devotion to his players and family is unlike that of anyone I have ever known.

The teacher side of my dad is no different. With that same commitment he devotes to his players, my dad also works for his students. He loves thinking of new ways to teach his lessons or improve his students' grades. My freshmen year I had my dad for a teacher. Once, during a lesson, he pulled out my sister's baby toys and used them as a diagram to teach geometry. The same way my dad writes plays for basketball, he writes his lessons. He prepares his "game plans" the night before and goes about teaching the same way he would coach. His fatherly affections are apparent in the way he talks to his students. He truly wants them to do well and will do everything in his power to help them.

There is no doubt in my mind that without my father I would not be the person I am today. He has taught me life lessons that I will have with me forever. Not many people get to see the different sides of my dad that I do. He is my hero and, if I could grow up to be half the person he is, I would truly be happy.

Not being able to see him every day next year will be difficult, but I know he is only a phone call away, ready to provide me with the encouragement and support I need. He has taught me everything I need to know to be successful in everything I do. I love my dad with all my heart and without him I would be lost. Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

Read more of Tom Williams' columns