Jenn: "Brandon if you wanna start. Just tell me some of your background, where you grew up, and how you got involved [with the Southside Hornets]."
My name is Brandon Brown. I’m 33. I grew up in Como. I don't have any kids. I work for National General Insurance. I’ve been doing that for about 18 months now. This is my 8th year coaching with Southside. I played with Southside growing up. My dad coached for Southside along with a lot of other people. When we were younger playing there were a lot more fathers involved, so that helped structure us and help keep us to where we needed to be as far as behavior wise, mentoring, and things of that nature. I got into coaching originally just because I saw my dad. I didn't know the ends and outs of it or anything like that. I just wanted to do because my dad did it. But as I started coaching, I started to realize these kids actually need more men. Now there are more mothers involved rather than men. The only men you really see out there now are the coaches.
As I started to coach, I started to realize these kids in this community really, really need us. I could've went to coach with Como where I grew up at, but Southside is where I started. I wanted to come back to where I started and make a difference. The biggest thing for me is it's opened my eyes to how many kids- their living situation- is to where sometimes the only time they eat is at school. I grew up in a two parent household. My mom and dad got divorced when I was 14. There are a lot of kids that are in a way worse situation than what I did growing up. My mom and dad weren’t rich, I had everything that I needed. I never wanted for anything. Some of these kids live in those types of situations. Some of these kids need the type of guidance that we can give them. I coached 11 and 12 year olds. A lot of my kids are like, 'am I going to go this way or am I going to go that way'. That’s why I want to coach that age because I can relate to them.
Before I started coaching, I don’t want to use the word selfish, but I was really all about me. I don’t have any kids so I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do. Once I started to coach, it opened my eyes to, ok, other people really need you. These kids need you. These kids really, really need you. So as the years ago by, now year 8, I love it! I’ve been thinking that I want to go back to school to be a coach. I’ve gotta get back in school to do that, but this is preparing me for that role. What I’m doing now is allowing me to be a leader of young men. Not actually just teach them football, but teach them things about life. How life actually goes. The do's and don'ts of life. One aspect life, this is ok, another aspect of life, this is not ok. You can’t just do what you want to do in life and think that there are no consequences. I get a joy out of teaching these kids that. I get joy out of it. I love it.