Originally published on Father’s Day, June 20, 2010. You can bet I will be re-publishing every year as a tribute to my Pop.
I wanted to take a minute or two and write about my Pop. Based on the fact this is a blog about baseball, I think you’ll find it is appropriate content for Midwestropolitan.
Last week he came down to visit so he could watch my son play in an all-day baseball tournament. Like my dad before me, I coach my son’s team.
It was fun to watch my dad in the bleachers and listen to everything he would say to my son and his teammates.
You see, my dad can’t just watch a little league game. The coach in him is way too difficult to suppress. I think he only made it an inning or two until he couldn’t contain himself from sharing helpful hints to all of our players.
Watching him made me thankful. He was a big influence in my life in terms of instilling in me the love for the game of baseball. A gift that I will have with me for my entire life.
Watching him also started me thinking about all of the things he did for me as my coach.
My dad started as my coach when I was eight years old. We didn’t have your typical season.
Back in April, I shared a post on, Average Adam: Thoughts of Your Every Day Average Guy, the improbable completion to my first little league season. We lost every one of our regular season games, but wound up winning the league tournament.
Read Little League Legacy to catch up on all of the details.
Needless to say, my dad helped me learn quickly that baseball, like life, is filled with triumphs and trials.
Now that I am a coach myself, I marvel at his patience. He never yelled at umpires, players, coaches, or parents. He never got too caught up in the competition, never made it about him over the kids. He just coached.
He coached me, my brothers, our neighbors, our friends, and anyone placed on one of his teams. There were no favorites. Everyone was coached.
It may not sound like much to some of you. If it doesn’t, go out to your local little league field and watch some of the coaches. You will realize how rare the traits I listed above truly are.
As I grew older, I developed into a decent ball player. There were plenty of regular season and all-star games. He never missed any of them.
Inevitably little league ended and I moved on to high school baseball. My dad didn’t stop coaching me. He never over stepped his boundary as a parent with my high school coaches.
When I would find myself in a slump, he would take me to the batting cage and simply suggest I alter small things with my hands or my stance. Even though the adjustments were slight, they almost always worked.
During my games I became pretty adept at ignoring all of the noise and chatter from the stands. There is one exception. I could always hear my dad very distinctly. It could be a huge at bat with dozens of people yelling something. It didn’t matter. The only person I could hear was my dad.
“Relax in there number 10. Find your natural rhythm. Now you see him Jason. Watch the ball. You can do it.”
I came to rely on it. He was always my coach.
At 33 years old, I am only reaching the tip of the ice berg in terms of understanding this crazy game of life. One thing I do know, I appreciate all of the sacrifices my dad made for me.
Happy Father’s Day.