116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Kathy Lovell told her husband, Tim, something Thursday night that absolutely slapped him upside the face. It just blew him away because he hadn’t really thought about it.
As they were preparing to head to Kingston Stadium to watch Marion and Cedar Rapids Washington meet in football for the first time in both schools’ histories, Kathy reminded Tim it very well, too, could be the last time he ever would get a chance to watch their son, Max, play a game.
He was gobsmacked.
“I was just kind of like ‘Whoa,’” Tim Lovell said.
Max Lovell plays fullback and linebacker for the Wolves, who lost to Wash, 26-9. Not exactly what any of the Lovells wanted to have happen.
A senior, Max has been coached nearly his entire football life by his father, but Tim Lovell left Marion after last season to take the head coaching job at Linn-Mar. He teaches at a middle school in the Linn-Mar district.
Every game the rest of this season for both teams will be played on a Friday night. Unless something happens, such as one making the playoffs and the other not, Thursday night was a one-off viewing deal for Tim Lovell.
He already has decided to take part with Kathy in Max’s Senior Night ceremonies but won’t stick around for the game, running to catch his team’s game, which likely will be in progress when he gets there.
“It was kind of surreal sitting up in the stands, watching them talking in the end zone before the game, listening to them talk with their coaches,” Tim Lovell said. “I told my wife that it was just really different watching them play instead of being with them. I’ve been doing it for so long, with my son and over there (at Marion), yeah, it was just definitely different. It was OK. I enjoyed just getting to watch the game as a spectator and kind of look at it from a dad perspective as opposed to a coach perspective.”
“I definitely liked him being there. It was cool,” Max Lovell said. “I was glad he was able to make it. It’s my senior year, and he’s coaching for Linn-Mar now, so he doesn’t have that opportunity anymore on the sideline. So, yeah, I thought it was pretty cool.”
Tim actually went to Max last winter when he was offered the Linn-Mar job and asked his son whether or not he should take it. Max told his dad it was an opportunity he simply couldn’t afford to pass up, so Tim accepted.
Max said he considered transferring from Marion to Linn-Mar for his senior year but ultimately decided he wanted to remain at Marion and play with friends he grew up playing football with for one more season.
“He’s always kind of been there on my Metro (Youth) teams, middle school teams, all that,” Max said. “Up until, you know, last year, he’s just always been kind of my coach. It’s a little weird not having him be there anymore, but it is what it is.”
Father and son say they talk football with each other at home, though perhaps not as much as you’d think. Max said their conversations always center on Marion and not Linn-Mar, a team he admitted he doesn’t know anything about.
The Lions played Friday night at home against Iowa City Liberty.
“Max has never really been one to talk shop at home. I appreciate that, I think that’s good,” Tim Lovell said. “There have been times where I was coaching him where we had some concerted discussions about what was going on, or what I did in practice, how I handled a situation with him. But now it’s just really ‘Hey, how was practice? What did Coach (Michael Joyner) tell you? What are you seeing? How are you feeling about the week?’
“If you know Max, he’s not one of many words, probably like a lot of teenage boys. But he’s pretty upfront and honest. None of it has come in the form of bitterness or regret or wishing I was still there. He is happy for me, and I am really happy for him. I know 0-2 is not how they wanted this year to start, but I know they are making improvements and the staff is working hard.”
Max echoed his dad’s sentiments.
“We know we’re good,” Max said. “Last night, we didn’t play up to our full potential, and we know that. Our offense, they knew what we had to do to win it. We just couldn’t do it. And we know we can. We know we have it in us.”
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