by Jack Warren, Top Coach host and editor
“If it’s all about baseball, then you’re on the wrong field.” – Jack Warren, Top Coach
Alright, guys, I’ve got a topic that’s going to hit home hard with some of you. Frankly, after some of the stories I’ve heard in the last few years, perhaps it’s a message that needs to grab your attention like a purpose pitch.
One of my coaching acquaintances has recently gone through a significant career transition and took time to reflect upon – and then share with me – his journey to this point. When I asked about his thoughts at this point he said that he wishes he’d made just a bit more time for his family. “After all”, he added, “we’re in this game to impact lives and I, at times, haven’t impacted those closest to me in either sufficient quality or quantity.”
In one of our most popular Top Coach episodes ever, University of Southern Maine head coach, Ed Flaherty, was asked if he had any regrets (especially regarding turning down three D1 positions). After a short pause, he said, “Nope, no regrets.” He went on to note that staying where he was at afforded him the opportunity “for a somewhat normal life.”
I hear the story far too often – “Well, my wife knew what to expect when she married a coach” or “I haven’t see my kid’s baseball/softball games in three years.” The bar is raised when you hear other coaches talk about all the time they’re putting in. And it only gets ratcheted up to the next level when you see a legendary coach let go because he failed to meet some measure of school/fans/alumni expectations. You often don’t ever feel as if you’ve done enough.
The one regret you will truly have, however, is not spending enough time with the people in your life who love you unconditionally. A championship is great. Getting that blue chip recruit was satisfying. Frankly, down the road, none of that will matter if you kick the ball when it comes to your family.
There is a four to six month period where you may not see sunshine unless you’re standing on a baseball field — and that’s sufficient reason to pack it in at the end of a hard day. However, here are a few hints to help you make this trip a little easier for your family.
First of all, make your family part of the program. There’s no better example of this than Tim Corbin. He said that when he married his wife she already had two daughters. He made a point of ensuring that they were part of the Vanderbilt Baseball family. There are so many ways to do this that the topic may well be its own column in the future. It’s sufficient to say, however, that one only needs to put on their thinking cap to come up with ways in which your family could be part of the program instead of just fans.
Secondly, for you control freaks out there, don’t be afraid to delegate! If you have to do it all yourself, then you’re doing something wrong.
Lastly, set a regular weekly date night with your wife or girlfriend – during the season! Oh, but I don’t have time! Make time. Are you kidding me? Here’s the deal: Fridays and Saturdays are out (of course). Most other days are iffy. Mondays are often the most open days (relatively speaking). Do you think your significant other will be that concerned if your date is at 8:00 instead of 6:00? Hire a responsible student to come sit with your kids for two hours and go. And don’t be concerned with where you go. Just go. And, please, do not pull your cell phone out while you’re dining.