[In honor of Father’s Day, I need to shamelessly brag a bit on my husband. Some people say we don’t get to celebrate these holidays yet, but more people say that we can—after all, we are already preparing for and providing for our little one who will be here in about two months!]
Lately I’ve been looking at my husband’s life and reflecting on everything he’s been doing for our family and his teams.
He works tirelessly to give his best as a coach. He opens the weight room at 8 a.m. for local players to work out, and then he takes them out to the field to practice. He spends hours in his office sending registration checklists and workout schedules to incoming players. He answers questions these players and their parents have. He is constantly recruiting new players as his incoming class still isn’t quite set for the fall: he calls and emails coaches and prospective players, schedules visits, gives tours, and keeps in contact to the best of his ability. He calls coaches to find schools for his current players to transfer to. During the summer, he is only paid for about three hours per day of this work, but of course, he puts in much more than that.
He runs his summer team with little help. They play 3-5 days each week, often double-headers. Home games are an hour away from our house, and away games at anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours away plus whatever Southern California traffic may throw our way. The small amount of money he gets paid for this barely covers his gas money for the commute, and last summer he chose to collect 25% less than he was entitled because he wanted to ensure there was some money left in the team account to get this summer started.
He works hard on his Master’s degree as well. No matter how tired he may be after a full day of work doing all of the above, he finds time to read, conduct research, and write papers every week. Oh, and he’s killing it with mostly As and a couple of A-minuses.
On top of that, we just bought a house and have added moving to our list of duties—something I am almost useless in since I’m almost 31-weeks pregnant.
Yet, somehow, he still makes time to rub my swollen ankles and aching hips. When I’m exhausted or overwhelmed—even though my days are not nearly as full as his—he still finds ways to help with extra housework or even run extra errands.
As I’ve watched him go through all this over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started to wonder why he does it all. Why doesn’t he just say no to some of these things on his plate? So much of what he does—especially the coaching duties—are essentially logged as volunteer time. No one is making him do it all. And why do I let him? Why don’t I urge him more firmly to say no to certain things? Why don’t I insist he demand more pay before he puts in more time? Why don’t I tell him to rearrange the order of his tasks so that our family needs will be met before his coaching duties are fulfilled?
Yesterday I was reminded of why.
After the game, a player’s dad went out of his way to thank my husband for helping his son find opportunities to continue playing college baseball. His son had recently received a call from a coach of a program he was excited about—a coach my husband had contacted about this player.
Don’t get me wrong here—it’s not because of the gratitude and recognition. It’s because there are few greater joys for a coach than to see a player excited about an opportunity to do something he loves. Sometimes it’s an incoming freshman eager to play college baseball. Sometimes it’s a sophomore transferring from a junior college to a university to continue playing at the next level. Every now and then it’s a player getting drafted. Sometimes it’s a graduating senior who realized his passions in life, became a man, and learned how the lessons in baseball apply to the real world beyond the security and comfort of the ballpark. Whatever that next phase may be, we do all of this because we know it’s what will help them get where they are going, and we love to see their excitement when the hard work pays off. We love to know we played a part in that, however small it may be.
That’s why he gets up early and stays at the field late. That’s why we are willing to travel even for home games. That’s why everything else sometimes must go on the back burner. Because if the work doesn’t happen now, it may not happen at all, and if it doesn’t happen at all, a young man under my husband’s tutelage might not have as great of an opportunity as we would hope for him. At the end of each day, my husband wants to be able to look them all in the eye and say, “I gave you my best. I did everything I could to give you an opportunity to grow and succeed.”
And I would never want to be the one to get in the way of that. I want to stand beside him and encourage him to keep striving for those moments.