A birthday gift to myself. So you hit a milestone…what really matters? For me…for us…what matters is who and what our daughters have become. Three very different women are all tied together by some fundamental core beliefs. “Never too high on the highs, never too low on the lows”…” It’s nothing personal, it’s just business”…” Better today than we were yesterday, better tomorrow than we are today”…”. Life is about continuous improvement. And we are all just trying to get better. Better at relationships, better at decompression as well as motivation…just better at everything. I count myself as one of the fortunate ones who isn’t just slipping away from things as time progresses. We were supportive of everything they did as kids, but mistakes were made, immaturity was still in good supply and you look back and hope that the scorecard is still tilted in your favor. But the “now” is here, and me needing to get to about 50 to put my ego down, means our girls only had to get to about 20 to start understanding the bigger picture. These three ridiculously different women…for my wife and I….are the only bigger picture that really matters.
Oldest: Massively responsible. Numbers girl (like her mom)…manual checkbook never one cent off or I can’t go to sleep at night (also like her mom). Highly educated and an incognito Alpha Female. Love to talk philosophy of sports with her. She knows everything about her sons as humans..so understanding how to coach them is really pretty easy. Her oldest has her attention to detail..he does things technically perfectly because that is what the process is. The youngest came out of the chute at 1 pound 13 ounces and beat tall odds to be alive. Put a bat in that little boy’s hands and he swings from his shoes in case he makes contact. And she’s coached their teams as well as both of them individually from the minute they signed up for anything. She and I just had a catch..with a league baseball..in our backyard. A great recent moment in my life. Sometimes her maturity at a young age put her on the “things to sweat the least” list. And while it may work a little against you as a teen, it is a treasure to have once you are a mom.
Middle Child: The best coach in the family…with a traveler’s spirit. Being a middle kid myself, maybe I’m starting to believe a little more in her “the middle kid is different” theories. Today she could be in central WI, living a simple life, being followed around by a 100-pound dog and just racking up volleyball wins as a coach. And tomorrow she could be doing the very same thing in Breckenridge, CO…and the Breckenridge High School Girls Volleyball program would be that much better for it. Gone are the days when she rants to me…now I rant to her. And she doesn’t ever say it, but deep down she loves the fact that she is the family expert in actual game coaching and program building. And she absolutely should love it..she has earned the right to feel that. And a lot of girls are better off for it. As I’ve always said, I was a nervous wreck when she played…I never once worry about anything when I watch her coach. A HUGE reason to do all of this coaching stuff at this age is to be able to coach against her in a game…sounds a little weird but it is the truth.
Youngest: Beyond “broke the mold”. Equal parts piss, persistence, and passion. She will simply outlast you. What she doesn’t know, she’ll teach herself. What can’t be self-taught, she’ll find the right person to ally with. She has no issues with pushback or confrontation…for or against her. And on the other side of all that is someone that will go to the wall for those she believes in. Truly the highlight of coaching with your kid is when you both come to the exact same conclusions from two very different paths and thought processes. That is how you know the core is there. There is no way it can’t be or we’d be coming up with two different answers…and we never do. And then we debate on how to get there and she’ll usually defer to the old man and when she doesn’t…let’s just say I know what “absolutely not” means, ha! It sounds like an ego trip to say “It is fun for me to trust you”, but it really is the truth. I don’t really coach out loud much anymore..I coach my kid to coach out loud..and she may already be better at it than I ever was.
My Wife: The Cornerstone. Underrated and underappreciated don’t begin to tell the story. Comfortable with my words being our words because they always have been. Anything we ever accomplish as a family can be traced back to her being selfless enough to allow it to happen. Still gets kids to practice, supports everything her family does, is always mindful of being a coach’s wife and a coach’s mom, and approaches her role with every bit of the sense of responsibility that we all coach with. How could one ever put a value on that type of love and loyalty? Well, I know a few words in a story don’t begin to show her the appreciation she deserves but hopefully, all of us continue to show her the love and respect she has earned (like 3 lifetimes worth). And tonight, she’ll be in the gym watching Jess and I coach with Princess Layla next to her..in a gym where Katelyn won her first championship as a high school coach, while Melissa is down the road with her family doing something sports-related at their high school.
I’m the last guy to ever wanna say it..but Happy Birthday to me.