The end of the season

As of last night my career as a coach is over. For now at least. My youngest son’s team had their last game, collected their trophies (everyone gets one), and said their goodbyes. I have mixed feelings.

The season went on too long, and wasn’t structured correctly to help the kids learn as much as they might have. I won’t miss leaving work a little early to drive straight to the park for the games each Monday. I won’t miss certain players calling for a break between every change in the game. And I certainly won’t miss the inevitable argument each at-bat over who got to bat first (no matter how many times I’d already told them the order).

Okay, maybe I’ll miss that last one just a little.

But I definitely will miss seeing the fierce determination in my only girl player’s eyes as she stands at the plate, her stance practically perfect, waiting for the pitch. I’ll miss having to dive out of the way as her powerful swing connects for a fly ball out of the infield. I’ll miss my own son snatching a grounder and outrunning the runner on third to home plate to get him out (even though outs weren’t counted). I’ll miss the immigrant boy who speaks English just fine, but mainly doesn’t speak at all if he doesn’t need to, but would usually do his best to follow my directions to the letter.

I’ll even miss the youngest player on the team whose attention was almost always anywhere but where it was supposed to be. He was a goofball, but a contagiously charming one. I wish his dad could have seen him play.

I’ll miss seeing them make progress, regardless how small. I’ll miss watching their young bodies not quite executing on the perfect plays their minds knew to do. I’ll miss seeing them really trying to get it done.

Our city runs two sessions of sports, spring and fall. My kids are signed up for the fall session already, but with my two boys now able to play on the same team, chances are I won’t be needed to coach. I’ll probably miss it. At least a little bit.