Baseball Player: Well, Coach, it’s been nice talking to you, but I’d better let you go.
Recruiting Coordinator: Okay, you have a good night and we’ll talk soon.
Baseball Player: You too. Goodbye.
Recruiting Coordinator: Bye. Love you.
The above is the end of an actual conversation between a junior college pitcher and a Division I university recruiting coordinator. The conversation had been long and amicable, but it was also their first phone conversation. The pitcher immediately called my husband to express his confusion over hearing “Love you” from a coach he’d just become acquainted with. When my husband passed the story on to me, we were both in hysterics.
Part of the humor, though, is that we realize how easily such a slip can happen.
My husband spends a great deal of time on the phone with recruits. He has some excellent conversations with players all over the country. Some he’s speaking to for the first time. Some he has met in person or watched play. Others he’s checking in on for the weekly update, and it’s their thirtieth chat since August. Regardless of the category of the phone call, many would not surprise me if my husband accidentally ended the call with “I love you.”
Before we were married, we spent over a year several states apart. We spent plenty of time on the phone, and those conversations ended with “I love you.” I’m surprised that habit didn’t ever sneak into his recruiting phone calls. But it makes me wonder… perhaps it did without his ever realizing it. Maybe there is a baseball player out there somewhere who remembers when Coach Walker called to recruit him and confessed his love at the end of the conversation.
How many other athletes share these awkward stories? Or maybe they avoid answering calls from certain coaches because they aren’t sure how to respond to a complete stranger’s unintentionally professed love. Or perhaps they fear that it was, in fact, intentional and are uncomfortable with the coach’s recruiting tactics.
My husband loves recruiting. He is strangely good at it. He is energized after a great phone call with a player who seems to be getting excited about his program. In that excitement, it could be easy for him to forget what he’s doing and who he’s talking to. As far as I’m aware, the L-word hasn’t slipped out in one of those calls yet, but I won’t be surprised when it does.