Youth football is a demanding sport to coach, but it is made much more manageable when you have New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr.’s number in your call log.
Florida barber extraordinaire Arthur Pique has benefitted from his relationship with football stars to help instruct boys in the realm of sports, and often times in life as well.
“When I tell my players about the players’ hair I’ve cut, which include Odell Beckham and Jason Pierre-Paul, I remind them that professional football players are a lot like them,” Pique said. “The only difference is that they fight through the days they don’t feel like going to practice, or studying the playbook and end up playing on Sundays.”
Pique has been a barber for all of his adult life and said he fell in love with the profession as a child getting his hair cut by neighborhood barbers. As he became more invested in the trade, word of his talent spread and he would take a job with the Giants as a team barber.
The position would require him to travel across the country, which allowed him to increase his notoriety on a national level, but started to take a toll on his family. As his son started entering critical stages of development and mentoring, Pique saw fit to spend less time on the road so he could create better memories with his son.
He decided that the best way to connect with his son is through the sport they both loved. Pique has a background in coaching and saw an opportunity to personally train his son.
“My first coaching job was with a youth baseball team of 15 year olds. The kids — and I say kids, like they aren’t adults now — they still look up to me,” he said. “It impacted me more than I would imagine and I stuck with it ever since.”
As a coach, Pique is as hard on his son as he is on other players (if not harder) but being the godson of Chicago Bears safety Antrel Rolle comes with its set of expectations. Pique said his son is in one of the best positions to be mentored by a number of pro athletes.
“There has been times when he has to realize, ‘this ain’t dad on the field.’ I coach him hard,” Pique said. “Even after getting some tips from some pros, I hadn’t let him throw a pass downfield for the first three weeks of the season. I finally unleashed him, and he threw three touchdown passes. He got to see the hard work [pay off].”
When Pique isn’t mentoring the young men of the Suniland Sun Devils football team, he’s helping youngsters in his community get prepared to make the most of their educations.
Pique hosted his annual Education First program in September, which incorporates the talents of a handful of other notable barbers in the area to give free haircuts, school supplies and food to youth in South Florida.
“The school supply drive was the day before school started,” he said. “There were kids out there without supplies or a haircut. School starts tomorrow, chances are if they didn’t have one by then, they weren’t going to get it.
I always had a love of helping people and random acts of kindness. I wanted the kids to see that without money, without fame, someone could still be a blessing to others. If there’s someone in need, you can help.”
Pique also said that he is making progress towards teaching kids with behavioral issues because he wants “to touch some kids’ lives and change some things.”
Even though he’s an advocate of education, Pique said football provides an opportunity for many young men that isn’t available in other aspects of life.
“Football is the best sport in the world, he said. “It’s the only sport where you have to stop in between every play and follow directions and be disciplined. I think that teaches kids, in between whistles, you have to work hard. In between plays, you’re going to have to follow directions. If you don’t follow directions, and 11 players don’t, you’re not going to do well on the next play. That’s why I love coaching football.”