INDEPENDENCE DAY, PAST AND PRESENT FIREWORKS AND FUN ON THE 4TH
Holidays are for building relationships with family and friends, and the Fourth of July is no different. For the past 15 years, my family and I have celebrated the Fourth of July with our neighbors at a huge block party on our street. We light off fireworks, the kids decorate their bikes and have their own mini parade, and we feast on potluck-style barbecue. The day hasn’t always been just about relaxing with family, though. For over eight years, I helped run a fireworks stand on the Fourth of July. Some of you might know that I have coached high school football for the past 22 years. After playing in college, I started as a coach at my former high school when I moved back to the area. Since then, I’ve coached at a few different schools. At one of the schools I coached, the coaches and parents of players would run a fireworks stand during the week leading up to the Fourth. Since you can only sell fireworks for one week of the year in California, we had to work hard to empty the stand and raise as much money as we could for the football program. We would work in 100-degree weather, sweating and grinding to sell as much as possible. Every
year, each coach wanted to be the one who would sell the super-sized pack that had over 50 fireworks and cost over $500. There were a few years where the same customer would come back and buy the over-sized pack to supply fireworks for his entire block! It was all about the wheeling and dealing on the last day we were open. That’s when the customers could literally get the best bang for their buck. When I changed schools six years later, we didn’t have a fireworks booth as a fundraiser, and my day was free. My wife appreciates that I get to spend the whole day with family now, and so do I, but all the coaches who worked those long hot days on the Fourth of July still talk about it. Even though it was hot and busy at the fireworks stand, and I might have enjoyed relaxing at home more, getting to bond with the other coaches made the mayhem worth it. Having the opportunity to form those types of relationships is one of the reasons I’ve been a coach for so long.
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