My son is a baseball coach. Before that, he was a baseball player. He is the head high school baseball coach in our hometown. The town he was born in over 30 years ago. The town he chose to come back to after college. To raise a family. To raise the twin sons he and his wife have been blessed with.
My son is a good baseball coach. Everyone knows he is. At least the ones who matter. He learned from the best...his little league coaches, his summer league coaches, his high school coaches...his college coaches. Some of his best friends today are his little league coaches, his summer league coaches, his high school coaches, and his college coaches. They share an incredible bond that was formed around the game of baseball.
My son's baseball team clenched the district championship this year before district play was even over. Not bad for a first year head coach. They received a "bye" in the first round of the playoffs. They won in an unbelievable, unforgettable second round. They lost in the third round. Not once, but twice.
I have seen my son cry three times as an adult.
The night I told him his Dad and I were getting a divorce.
The day he received a phone call telling him his beloved friend...college roommate...the one he played baseball with...the one who was a groomsman in his wedding...the one he later named his firstborn son after...had died in a tragic accident.
Then again, after the last baseball game of the season, he cried. Not BECAUSE his team lost. He cried for the ones who played so hard and wanted to win so badly. For the Seniors who cared. He cried because they cried. Maybe he felt he had let them down...though I don't think he did. He coached to win. At all times. He will do the same thing next year. And the next. And the next. Thats what coaches do.
He and his assistant coaches were at our house, swimming and relaxing, just a few days later. One of the assistant coaches said something...referring to something or another as "when you were tying the twins' shoelaces after the game". Without hesitation, my son said "I wasn't tying their shoes, I was crying".
Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words...
I. was. crying.
Those three words made me so proud of him.
After that final game, as he stood on the field surrounded by the people he loves...his wife, his twin sons, his Dad, his players, his assistant coaches, his college baseball coach...I couldn't help but think what a wonderful sport baseball is. The greatest sport, actually. At least to those who matter.
Jeremy, you make me VERY proud and I love you more than you'll ever know.