How can it be a happy moment for a Mom to see her son cry? Will's team played in their final little league play-off game together. Afterward, even the coaches got teary-eyed. And it wasn't because they didn't win their game. It was because they knew that this was the end of an era. The end of what they have spent the last 4 years building. The great thing is, i'm sure many of the friendships built on this team will last a lifetime. When you work and play that hard and long together, it doesn't just go away because play-offs are over.
These coaches have given their guts to the kids on this team. They're just kids themselves, most of them. They don't have kids on the team. Most of them don't even have kids. They didn't have to do this. It is a part-time job during the football season ~ except, wait. They don't get paid.
I'm having a hard time expressing the appreciation i have for what these coaches have done for our boys. They have made them run drills and do ladders and up-downs and laps and push-ups and sit-ups plus a list of other conditioning exercises that i've never even heard of until the boys are begging for mercy and/or hating their coaches. They've taught the cerebral part of the game as well as the physical. One of the coaches is a professional sports massage therapist, so he took care of the boys when they got muscle injuries. They have given all the kids who show up to practice and work hard equal opportunity to play in the game. It isn't that they don't have favorites, i'm sure they do, but their favorites didn't get more play time. And they have earned the respect of the boys. Those kids would do anything for Coach Tim and the rest of 'em. Including not drink soda because it might slow them down. I'm not sure why that impresses me so much.
Will has only played on the team for 2 seasons, but these 2 football seasons have given him a taste of what it is like to really work with passion for something and how good it feels to earn a measure of success ~ even if that success doesn't mean you win every game. As a parent, you can talk 'til you're blue in the face about how the things we have to work hard for are the only things worth having but until they get a taste of that, it is meaningless for a kid. So I want to say Thank you to the coaches of the Grey Juniors. Thank you for doing what i couldn't do for my son.