Son’s game highlights Hauck’s happy day

I have a friend from Rhode Island who is in town, a man from Nantucket, who when Hurricane Sandy appeared headed his way last week recited a variation of an old limerick. Then he checked his homeowners policy, battened down the hatches and evacuated, to Las Vegas, where he has a winter home.

Because the Patriots weren’t playing over the weekend, he was starved for some football. So I suggested if he was really, really hungry, he might check out New Mexico and UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium.

He did, and afterward he called to say that he had enjoyed himself, but where were all the people?

He also said he was listening to the postgame show, and that Russ Langer, the Rebels’ broadcaster, ended his interview with Bobby Hauck, the Rebels coach, by telling him to "go celebrate with his team," or something to that effect.

And that Hauck had said there wasn’t time for backslapping and huzzahs and being a jolly good fellow, because his son would be playing youth football across town in about 15 minutes. He wanted to be there for kickoff.

My friend thought that was cool.

The inference: Bill Belichick would never do that. Nor, probably, would the new coach at Boston College.

Maybe this was something I might write about, my pal from back East said. That making time for one’s children is admirable today, when priorities shift, change or get skewed.

You know, like in that "Cat’s in the Cradle" song:

"When you comin’ home dad?"

"I don’t know when."

"But we’ll get together then, son. You’ll know we’ll have a good time then "

Harry Chapin knew. Bobby Hauck knows. That’s just the way it is sometimes when there’s a game plan to draw up; when the boss wants the report on his desk by 9 the next morning; when the pork belly market was wildly fluctuating, when you still could trade pork belly futures.

Hauck usually is guarded about his family, which is his prerogative; which, when you think about it, is admirable, too, especially when you consider family members of coaches in places where people are obsessed with college football.

This would include anywhere it is played between hedges; or in Texas; or where spittle starts forming on the corners of one’s mouth around Thursday and guys start pounding each other on the shoulder pads, even though they’re not wearing them.

I’ll bet Jonna Chizik, Gene’s wife down at Auburn, won’t even leave the house anymore.

When I asked Hauck about rushing from Sam Boyd Stadium while cheers still were cascading from the luxury suites and people were chanting his name – OK, slight exaggeration, but Rebels diehards did seem happy/pleasantly surprised by the 35-7 victory – he said it was only Legacy High School, that it wasn’t all that far – that it didn’t seem like that big a deal.

True, that is what many fathers would do, go the extra mile for their kids; make time for them; teach them to throw a spiral, or a curveball; help them with their homework when mom is busy. But if all fathers were like that, Harry Chapin probably wouldn’t have written that song.

"He played quarterback, cornerback, punter, kicker and returner, so he did it all this week," Hauck said of Robby’s role with the under-14 Anthem Cougars.

Did he make it for the opening kickoff? Almost. "Middle of the first quarter."

"There’s only ‘X’ number of hours in the week," Hauck said about the importance of priorities, about blending family time with football time. "All coaches work long hours during the season. So we try to make it as family friendly as we can, and make it so our guys can see their kids play, if there’s an opportunity.

"And I’ve only seen (Robby) play twice this year, which is a dang shame. His games are now the same time as ours are a lot of the time."

But this one wasn’t, and so Hauck beat a hasty retreat from his postgame interview, jumped in his car, and watched his 14-year-old son imitate Gordie Lockbaum, the former Holy Cross two-way star, for 3½ quarters.

And this is where I was going to say something profound about the cat in the cradle and the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon. And how Bobby Hauck probably enjoyed watching his son play all those positions more than usual, given the Rebels had just whipped New Mexico, whipped the Lobos pretty darn good, in fact.

But he seems like the kind of guy who would have enjoyed watching his son play football even had the Rebels lost.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.

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