Going through the books on the shelves of my office recently, I came across one of my favorites from years past. No, it wasn’t a math or programming or space book, it was about surviving the little league baseball experience from a coach’s perspective. After coaching for about 30 years, I finally passed the clipboard to a group of younger folks with kids playing in the league.
The book did have a lot of important information for youth coaches in it. As one reader described the book by Bill Geist, “He has condensed all of his years of coaching into one season and it is awesome. If you have coached youth sports, you will laugh yourself sore over it and if you are considering it, then this will give you some insight into what it's all about. Don't let it scare you away, but be prepared.”
It is funny and if I remember correctly, it listed of lot of important abbreviations for your draft day notes. Things like “HAP, GLM and PAP.”
I’m not sure if the book mentions those specifically, but I have seen them. “HAP” simply means “has a pool.” “GLM,” is short for “good looking mom.” And “PAP” is one of mine, “parents are problem.”
A friend of ours recently passed away; it continues to be difficult for his family and friends. He was in 70’s, but still way too young to go. He loved music, his wife and his son. As my wife went through the next few weeks with her friend, who was struggling with coming home to an “empty house” and not having her best friend there, they were on the phone often.
Our friend was going through her husband’s things and sent us a picture from his sock drawer. It got to me… I know the types of things that I “keep in drawers” and want to see every day. In my mind, the sock drawer is a place that I will look every day and if I wanted a great memory, I might just put it in my sock drawer so I could “see it” every time I opened it. Maybe even take it out and admire it and the memory that it brought.
What did he have in his sock drawer that got to me?
A real simple thing – with a sweet wonderful memory for both him and his son. Many years ago, when his son played baseball for me, there was a particular game that he just did great… So great, that I gave him the game ball with the date and other specifics written on the ball.
That ball was the only thing in that sock drawer besides socks…
At his funeral service, I talked with his son, who is in military, about that ball. Not about the game, or his performance, but the fact that his dad had it in his sock drawer where he could see it every day and what I know he meant to him.
He agreed and he understood how proud his dad was of him and his accomplishments. He didn’t go on to play professional baseball, or college or even high school baseball. That doesn’t matter, the memories of parents and children do.”
Later, my wife was talking to her friend again about her son going back to his duty station in Texas after being home for his dad’s service. She asked him if there was anything of his dad’s that he wanted.
Yes, he wanted that baseball…
Sometimes I wonder if I wasted my time on all those afternoons, hitting balls, throwing balls and driving kids to and from practice.
Then I have a story like this and there is only one answer – No, I did not waste my time.”
Check your sock drawers…
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