In my April column, I talked about personal training and how a trainer is a coach who motivates, leads by example and believes in you. I truly love being a trainer and helping people become their best selves.
As Father’s Day approaches, I want to share with you a story about my dad, one of my very first coaches, and the person who was probably the greatest influence on my becoming a trainer.
I was in fourth grade, the smallest kid in my entire grade. I loved playing sports. I had just moved to Missouri a year before and was still the “new girl.” I signed up for the recreational softball team. I showed up for practices with my new glove and baseball hat and an excitement to play and make some new friends.
And then it came time for my first game. I sat the bench for the entire game until the end of the last inning, when my coach stuck me in right field. I knew that being stuck in right field for the last inning of the game was not a good thing. Most of all, I just wanted to play, and it was obvious that my coach did not think I was very good, which was very humiliating. I held back tears that day as I walked off the field at the end of the game.
And so it went for the rest of the season: me playing outfield if I played at all. My dad came to the games and watched, and even though I thought he was too busy with work and my two siblings to really notice what was going on, he did notice, and he volunteered to coach a team next year.
Our team was definitely considered the underdogs next to the powerhouses of the team I was originally on, a group of somewhat older girls who were tall, fast and very athletic.
My dad asked me where I wanted to play. Well, I wanted to pitch. So I did. I practiced hard and I got to pitch along with another girl on the team. My dad and his assistant showed up for practices and worked with us, and encouraged us to work hard and show up to win. Our team did well and made it to finals. We beat the team that I had played for before, and then we went on to beat all the other teams in the league and win the Tri-County Championship, the highest level we could reach at that tender age of fifth grade.
That summer season of my youth taught me a lot. It taught me that my dad believed in me, that I was a good softball player, and that I could achieve great things if I practiced and worked hard and believed in myself, all good traits in sports and in life. I want to thank my dad for helping out his little girl, for seeing something in that tiny tomboy that no one else saw at the time. My dad was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and he has good days and bad days, days where he can’t remember things as well as he did the day before. No matter what, I will always remember the dad who swooped in and saved me, and helped shape me into the person I am today. Thanks Dad; I love you.