I See You, Coach.
This past spring your team won district.
You were riding a high on that ride home with your team. Your boys. Once you got back into city limits, the cops were waiting to give you a police escort through our hometown, with their blue lights blazing. Our community was there, waving, shouting congratulations, honking horns.
You see, I’m your wife. We have two lovely children ages 4 and under, one of whom was running a fever. That meant we rode through town behind the car caravan. Our daughter could barely see the blinking light of the bus at the front, where she knew her Daddy was, and she was crying. She’s your biggest fan and just wanted to be where you were. I comforted her in the car best I could, telling her you loved her and that we would see you soon.
I kept driving in that caravan for our sick son, who loved watching the police cars, even though I felt guilty at the same time. I knew he needed to get a bath, get some medicine, get in bed. But that’s the constant battle during baseball season, isn’t it? For both me and for you. Torn between trying to give these ball players the best season we can while trying to take care of and nurture our own little family.
Our daughter missed her T ball game. Not that she cared, mind you. She loved getting to go to Daddy’s game. I’m not sure T ball is going to be her thing, anyway. It’s just another part of being a baseball family.
I hope you know how much we love you and support you. We try the best we can. Sometimes we’re human and are selfish, though we try so hard not to be, and I know that’s hard on you when I am selfish. You constantly feel torn between wanting to give your all to this talented team and wanting to be the best husband and dad you can.
You spend so much time behind the scenes and give so sacrificially to this team, doing so many things no one else sees.
But, I see you, Coach.
I see you when you can’t tear your eyes away from your phone due to the twenty different conversations you’re having with players, parents, and school officials.
I see the hurt in your eyes when the first word our one-year-old son says to you is bye-bye because he’s so used to you leaving.
I see the base running handbooks discarded on the couch that you pore over after we go to sleep.
I see you put in seven hours, after you have already put in a full day’s work teaching, to help these young men succeed on the field and in life.
I see you enter our dark house with bleary eyes long after the lights have been turned out, night after night, and give us all a good night kiss.
The rest of the world may not see this. But I do.
Your love for baseball is infectious and has made me fall in love with the game myself. I wish you and our team the best for the rest of the season. Go win it all! I say this every year, but this team is special. They will do great things.
But no matter how well you do, it won’t be good enough for you. You’ll overanalyze and replay everything in your head over and over again, wondering what you could have done differently. You’ll almost sink to a depression as your sole purpose in life for the past four months is now in the offseason.
And I’ll do my very best to lift some of the burden off your shoulders, because that’s what teammates do. (You see what I did there?) Because you and I are a team, as well.
And when February rolls around next year at the start of baseball season, when your eyes start to glaze over when I talk, and I know you’re a million miles away in baseball land, I’ll take comfort that those high school boys are being taken care of.
And I’ll spend another season cheering you on because I know you are doing what you’re meant to do.