I guess I might as well make it official: Coach Phil is back.
I knew right from the beginning that you would end up winning. I knew right from the start you’d put an arrow through my heart. Round and round, our love will find a way, just give it time.
I really have to hand it to the seniors, they were relentless. They started asking me to help out the baseball team in the first quarter of this school year and never really stopped. They did things like refer to me as “Coach Higa” even though I had never coached any of them. They resorted to guilt trips centered on ideas like “alma mater” and “love of the game.” Really sappy stuff. I said no. They didn’t stop. And then I started thinking about it – all the possibilities and potential – and I guess it was only a matter of time.
I posted this picture a few weeks ago. We had just dropped Mad off at her dance class and I told Lynnette that I had been seriously considering coaching again. She might have said something like “of course you have.” It’s kind of a thing with me. I have been an assistant coach varsity head coach under four different head coaches. I coach for a year or two, get tired of it, enjoy the the freedom for a year or two, then get itchy for baseball again. I’m David Lee Roth, baseball is Van Halen. I am sure I have written those exact words in a previous entry.
“You said you’d always go back once Madison got older,” Lynnette said. I did say that. Finally, I explained to her why I think it was the right thing for me to do. As you know, one of my life beliefs is living below the radar, in part to avoid responsibility. I knew what coaching would mean. It would mean a much tighter grading time table. It would also mean less family time. In a vacuum, I would never want either of those things. It should have been an easy decision, but it wasn’t. In just about every scenario I can imagine, I will take the easiest path if the difference in outcomes is negligible. In this case, not coaching would have been the much easier path. I didn’t have to do anything but continue to say no. But it didn’t feel right. I really like this senior class, but ultimately it was the nagging in the pit of my formidable stomach – the feeling that I could help, and not doing so would be lazy (and possibly wrong) – that led me back to baseball.
We had practice yesterday and of course I jumped in on double plays during box drills. I am sure by the end of the season I will remember all of the reasons why I have stayed away from coaching for so long: the long nights, the lack of weekends, the frustration, the CORP bathroom being so damn far away from the fields.
“We’ll figure it out,” Lynnette said when I told her about my fears concerning what coaching might do to our family for the next three months. I am grateful for a wife that understands me so deeply that she would encourage me to chase things down, even if those things don’t make sense. So it goes that I am reunited with my first love through the graciousness of my last and best.