I’m penning this blog entry on my 37th birthday, approaching my 10 year anniversary of my appointment as head coach here at Seton Hill. The last ten years have gone incredibly quick and I find myself in that part of the baseball cycle where the batteries are charging up and the anticipation is growing for the start of the 2013 season. The annual ABCA Convention usually is the starting point for me each year to get back into baseball mode full swing. The wheels start to churn with new and fresh ideas about teaching and coaching the game with the new squad for this year.
In light of the recent events in Newtown, I find myself with a completely different view on baseball and life at this time of the year. Christmas break has always been a time for me to spend quality time with the family before the 6 month grind of the season hits in January. That is again the case, but I will value that time at home now more than ever.
One thing that has drawn me and countless others to love this game is the possibility of things changing on every single pitch. The outcome of a game lies in the balance of that split second when the bat meets the ball. The uncertainty is exciting and that uncertainty is what drives us for that ever so slight competitive advantage that will give us the best chance to succeed in those opportunities. That same uncertainty, as we are reminded in tragedy, exists in life as well.
As a coach I believe you must always continue to evolve, adapt and learn. We all strive for perfection, as elusive as that may be, and hope to achieve excellence. That means long nights, early mornings and lots of miles on the recruiting trail. But as I now have two young daughters, the challenge of achieving excellence as a baseball coach requires a delicate balance in your life. I want to win and develop great young men as bad as the next guy. But I am a much different coach and person than I was ten years ago. Glued to the television this past weekend seeing what took place at Sandy Hook has made me realize, more than ever, you never know how things will turn out.
As they have the past ten years, our players here at Seton Hill will come and go, creating lasting memories and friendships for me along the way. The wins and losses will come and go as well, creating joy and frustration. I know now, there is always going to be the next pitch, and that’s what we preach to our players. But I will never have a “next pitch” to see my children walk for the first time, or get on the bus to school for the first time, or play their first game or have their first dance recital. So as the 2013 season approaches and we work and dream of dogpiling in Cary at season’s end, its all envisioned with a perspective that family comes first and you never know if or when that next pitch will be.
God bless Newtown.
Seton Hill Baseball