Virtual Voices

Leaving well

Sports

Our time in St. Louis is quickly coming to a close, but we've barely had time to think about it in the midst of everything that comes with the normal springtime and the culmination of various recitals, events, end-of-year hoo-has, etc.

As I've turned over my own various responsibilities, I kept expecting to feel a twinge of emotion or regret or sadness or something. So far, though, I've just been numb concerning all of the things that have directly involved me. But my emotional faucet got nudged for the first time last week when my husband's junior varsity baseball team finished its season with its 20th win, setting a new JV school record for most wins in a season, and the boys celebrated by giving Craig a water cooler shower after the game.

As I was shuttling our own kids to their various activities that evening, I missed the entire game, showing up just in time to see the boys dump the water on him. And I instantly teared up.

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It wasn't necessarily the water dump that made me cry; it was the connection these boys have with my husband that, though I've seen it all season long, we all really experienced last week as the season wrapped up.

In anticipation of his leaving, the boys chipped in and bought him an engraved bat, which they all signed. Their parents also surprised him by purchasing tickets for the entire team to go to a Cardinals game together. The water cooler shower was just their final way of saying thanks . . . and that they have really appreciated his role in their lives as their coach these past two years.

When preparing for a move, it is easy to get completely caught up in all the practicalities of what has to happen to make the move happen. It is easy to lose sight of everything and everyone we're leaving. I think Craig needed the bat. He needed the tickets to the game with the boys. And he needed the water dumped on him to really understand the impact he made here in St. Louis, if even for only 12 guys, if even for only two years.

And I needed to be there when it happened . . . and I'm really glad I was.

In the spirit of Matthew 25, it's these little things that matter most. "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."

It could be said that being a JV coach pales in light of almost everything else, but I'm here to tell you that it matters. The investment my husband made in those boys made a difference. And I know 12 guys who will happily agree with me.

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