It’s the beginning of the season. Forty young men have already shown up, eager to prove themselves to my husband. And my husband now shoulders the enormous responsibility to lead those men both on and off the field. Over fifty times, they will take the field, first as strangers, but in the end, as family. They will experience joy and possible heartbreak together. They will sweat, bleed and even cry together.
And through it all, I will be there, up on the hill, watching. I will load and unload my car dozens of times. I will be there with our two little girls, just to let him know he is not alone. We’ll huddle together in layers of clothing shivering against the wind in January, and we will sweat in the glaring sun in May. We’ll watch through the soaking rain, shoes cakes in mud.
I’ll encourage him through the losses and share in his joy over the wins. We’ll win games we didn’t believe were possible to win. I’ll stand tall knowing some parents second guess the decisions he will make. I’ll lay in bed late at night in the darkness worrying over his safety as he drives the bus home after a double header, miles away from home. We’ll be like ships passing in the night, as I vaguely recall him kissing me goodbye while it’s still dark on game day. I’ll reheat his dinner for him when he gets home late from practice. I’ll deal with fevers and sick babies at home while he’s out of town for another game. I’ll hold down the fort at home.
I’ll be beside him as he shows his players what a healthy, God-centered marriage looks like. He’ll be a father figure to those young men who have never had a Dad. He’ll teach them a lot about success, but even more about failure. And when their baseball careers have long been over, we’ll be there as they get married, start jobs and have children of their own. He’ll pray with them and for them, and sometimes he’ll sit next to them in the doctor’s office when they receive the daunting diagnosis.
This coaching life isn’t for the faint of heart. He will bring his work home with him every single day. And I’ll be there, behind him, encouraging him and holding up his arms when he doesn’t have the strength to do it alone. I’ll be his fellow warrior, even if it means I do most my fighting at home, on my knees.