CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — For many, the holidays are a time of celebration.
But for Josh Lima, it’s a time to reflect on two major pillars in his life: family and football.
Lima has been Cumberland High School’s head football coach for nine years.
He described it as his dream job.
“A lot of the lessons I’ve learned through playing and coaching football really show in my life,” Lima said. “I tell [my team] all the time, the way I am with my wife and my family … a lot of the lessons I’ve learned are from hard work, effort and competing.”
One of the most important lessons Lima learned through football was how to deal with adversity. It all started when his father was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
“We thought he had a little more time than we actually did,” Lima said. “But it really spread and got worse much faster than we thought it would.”
The cancer began to spread throughout his father’s body in 2020, around the same Lima and his wife were awaiting the birth of their daughter Camella.
“It went from, ‘We think he’s got a couple months’ to ‘I think maybe he’s got a couple weeks’ … within two days, it was ‘I think he’s got one more day,'” he recalled.
Lima said while his father was dying, he was doing everything he could to meet his granddaughter.
But time was running out.
That’s when Lima and his wife found a unique way to introduce the two before it was too late.
Lima’s father placed his hand on his wife’s stomach and felt Carmella kick.
“It was special because we knew there wasn’t a lot of time left,” Lima said.
Lima’s father passed away soon after that.
But Lima carries on with the memory of his father still right behind him in the stands.
“Before every game, when the anthem’s [playing], I always look up because he was always there,” he said. “My mom and dad were at every game cheering and celebrating … he’d be as upset as me if we lost.”
Lima is now teaching his players the lessons he’s learned over the years.
The most important? To not take anything for granted.
“No matter what, you have to fight through it,” he said. “Whether it’s adversity on the field or adversity in your life … it would’ve been easy for me to sit back and feel bad, but instead it was, ‘I’ve got to get out there for these guys. I’ve got to be there.'”
That’s why Lima is out there every Friday night, with his wife, daughter and mother cheering him on from the stands. Lima also knows his late father is right there beside him on the sidelines rooting for him as well.