Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hanging up the whistle...

Well, my dad and I coached our last basketball games this weekend. By last I mean we are "retiring" from coaching. I use quotes around retiring because it seems so silly to say retiring, especially when it wasn't a paying job and I am only 29 so to retire from anything at that age sounds funny. Also, we didn't want the kids worrying about it all season and I was glad they didn't know until the end - some of them were very upset. I know alot of people are questioning this retirement, especially since we did not make a formal announcement, we just kind of brought it up at the end of the year. There is no big drama or secrets. So, to clear up any confusion and rumors, here is the truth:

About 3 weeks into this season Dad called me and said  he needed to talk to me. He went on to tell me how he really thinks it is time to retire. He works Monday through Wednesday then has to coach Thursday and Friday. Games every Saturday and then work his second job on Sunday. He had no time to relax or enjoy himself. He retired from his job he had for 25+ years about 3 years ago and was to start taking it easier then. Obviously, with that schedule he was not taking it easy. Dad loves to ride his Harley and his friends would always call him about going on a ride and he was busy. He wanted to take his grandkids to Chuck E. Cheese or to the park and wasn't able to find the time. This was wearing on him and he had to make the hard decision to quit. He just wanted more free time.

I started helping my dad coach 6 years ago. My dad had a heart attack in April 2006 and wanted to start coaching his granddaughters basketball team a few months later. I told him he could only do it if he let me help - that was I could watch him and make sure he wasn't overdoing it or anything. I totally got sucked in. I didn't have Noah then and was struggling with infertility and it really was helping me to be surrounded by other peoples kids all the time and helping them learn something. I continued on to help dad through my pregnancy and everything, I was hooked.

 Balancing family and coaching is hard. Whether you are a school coach getting paid for the job or just a volunteer at the local boys or girls club, it takes alot of time and effort. My dad coached for my entire life and more times than not it was not one of his kids he was coaching. So, dad missed alot of our things growing up. He made a commitment to those kids to be there for those games and practices and while I totally get it now, it was hard to understand then. If you have a child playing sports, you make sure and tell the coach how much it means to you that they take the extra time away from their lives and families to be there for your kids - it will mean alot to them. I decided that I was not strong enough for that lifestyle. I cannot leave Noah and any future kids we may have all the time to coach. It takes a special person to do that.

So, the word started spreading that we were leaving after this season so we made sure to find someone else to coach the teams we were coaching next year. We had 50 kids on our teams this year, there are plenty of qualified parents of those kids to coach. The kids kept complaining that they wouldn't bring gum and honey buns like we always did! HA! It is the little things I guess. There were alot of tears shed at that last game. I even had one of our players say that she is coming to dad's funeral when he dies! I think they think he is dying or something! I tried to explain to them that it was just time for us to go and we were going out on top so it was a perfect time to leave!

Thank you parents for supporting dad and I - it means alot. Thank you for sharing your kids with us - they are all very special to us! We are going to miss them all - some more than others :) - but they will still be missed. We are going to miss the old gym in Lamar - it is just an awesome historic building that we love. I know alot of people don't care for that building and to each their own, but we have the best memories in there. I am going to miss hearing "JESSIE'S HERE!" and getting a hug by all the girls when I get in the gym (5 minutes late of course) every practice. I am going to miss the car ride talks about life Dad and I had on the way to the away games. I am going to miss watching dad roll his eyes and yell "what are you doing" during the games - I laughed every time, which made him laugh. I am going to miss sweet Brady announcing that my buddy is here every time he walked in the gym. I am going to miss the beautiful Ginny drawing me pictures. I am going to miss Shelby's bear hugs every time she saw me. I am going to miss Colby coming 2 hours before his practice time so he could "bug me" (in his words). Most of all, I am going to miss watching these kids grow and mature in life and basketball and tell myself that my sacrifices had a little part in their growth.

We may not be on the bench, but look in the bleachers. We will always be around somewhere. Good luck Warriors - we are going to miss you as much as you miss us!


  1. Wow!! This is almost a tear jerker! You an your dad did an amazing service helping these children! God bless you and your dad and enjoy your free time!!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! We plan on it! :)

  2. What do you mean ALMOST a tear jerker?! I did cry! It is so sweet of you & your Dad to give of your time to coach all of those kids....I'm sure you will be so greatly missed!

    1. Thanks Fenton! I have the best memories of it all - very good times!