I’m always amazed at how God brings people into our children’s lives at various seasons and sometimes in ways that we, as parents, have very little to do with. They have different teachers year in and year out, librarians, coaches, friends parents and grandparents all of whom have a great influence on their lives but every now and then one stands out. This year, for our middle boy, that would be his baseball coach.
I should back up just a touch to say that we were not even going to register him for baseball this year. He had been on a team that lost every single game last year and he just wasn’t feeling motivated to play again so we had the talks and decided to just leave baseball for this year, and quite honestly, I thought, for forever.
A friend decided this just wouldn’t do and stated she was signing him up with her son and he really needed to play. I hesitated but thought maybe she was right. If he and his buddy played together it would be fun and we could share the driving. We convinced him to give it one last shot and he agreed.
Two practices in our dear friend decided to pull her son from the team! It was him, now, who wasn’t really into it and with many other things on his extra-curricular plate his days were just too full for this added sport. I won’t lie. I had a moment of panic. Actually, more like 2 days of panic but my calm and steady husband kept telling me it would be okay. And okay it was…
My son’s coach this year is going to be one of those people that he looks back on with great fondness. We are so thankful for his influence in his life not only in helping him grow as a baseball player but more importantly helping him grown in character. He taught him that sport is fun and that it takes hard work. He taught him that you need to smile and keep your head up even when you strike out. He taught him to play hard, to be on time, to be committed and that you don’t get something unless you want it enough to go for it. Most importantly to me, as a parent, he taught this with a smile on his face, sincerity in his voice, encouragement at every juncture and a love for both the game and these boys.
Today was the last game of the season. The championship game for a team that went undefeated all season. They hadn’t lost one until now. Second place. They were down in the dumps through a few innings but they showed what many teams don’t – truly, what many adults can’t – they showed great character. The boys didn’t cry or sulk or get angry. The boys cheered and shook hands with their opponents. They wanted first place with all their hearts but they also knew that being good losers was important. And really, second place isn’t so bad.
I’m so thankful that God put this coach in my sons life even if he decides never to play ball again (though he has already announced that he most definitely will!). I’m thankful that he can look back on this season to a role model that is worthy of emulating. Someone who grew him, challenged him and encouraged him in ways that as his mom I simply couldn’t.
Now his pirating days are over but I’m sure he’ll always have a little bit of them in his heart.