Last night it was made definite that we will not have a softball team, so I thought it would be appropriate to do a softball tribute on today's walk down memory lane. Shaun has played with and coached the same core group of guys for 13 years. He also served on the executive board as Treasurer and Vice-President for most of those years. The playing season went from the first of May to the end of August, with anywhere from one to four games a week and the executive board duties went from February through September. To say that softball has been a big part of our lives would be an understatement.
We were the first church team the league had seen in a long time, maybe ever. Shaun had a vision for it because his dad had been won to Christ as a result of playing on a church's team. Our church was "Christian Life" so there was no denying what we were about. The guys always got into a huddle and prayed before and after every game. They did not use foul language on the field and (with the exception of a few incidents) were good sports.
Shaun is a man who does everything with excellence and he is passionate about the things he does. He is as competitive as they come, but not in the head-case kind of way. He is smart and has a well thought out reason for every decision that he makes. These qualities made him a great coach and mentor to the guys. His dedication was contagious and he soon had a strongly committed core. As a matter of fact, the only game he ever missed in all those years happened while I was somewhere between 6-10 centimeters dilated with Avery. :)
Avery's first game
Aiden's first game (36 hours old)
As focused as Shaun was during the games, he would always stop to acknowledge the girls if they went to him for something, usually to say "hi".
We spent so much time with these guys they really became more like family. Well, ok...some of them were family. Shaun's two brothers started playing as soon as they met the league's age requirements (or perhaps a little before then) and his dad also played for the first couple years, too.
Unlike most of the other teams, we had a large, dedicated fan base and our families got to know each other really well.
All of the ladies took turns being pregnant...none of these children were in exsistence when the team first started.
The kids looked forward to the games as much as their dads did. They came armed with sand toys, bats and balls, babies in their carriages, snacks and bikes. This might have been the place where every single one of them learned the "no throwing sand" rule. :)
Showers were a standard thing when we got home at 9, 10, sometimes after 11 o'clock.
I love this picture. I watched Shaun do this a thousand times. Coaching, mentoring, teaching, preaching, instructing with wisdom, patience, understanding, passion, confidence.
If Shaun were to have done this post it would have been filled with statistics on individuals, win/loss records for regular season and playoffs. Some of that is kinda cool and they did win...lots, but it was mostly about relationships and the friends we made and the guys Shaun touched in some way.
Will I miss working our lives around softball meetings and games? No. Will I miss the enormous financial and time investment we made into it? No. But I will miss spending our summers down at the field with our friends and family, hanging out both on the field and off, watching new babies enter the world with each new season. I'll miss the conversations the wives and girlfriends had while we were supposed to be intently watching the game. And I'll miss seeing Shaun in his element.
I'm thankful for those good years down at the ball field. Only God knows the lives that were touched through Shaun's efforts.
Oh I say the measure of a man
Is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are
'Cause I've found out the measure of a man
God knows and understands
For He looks inside
To the bottom of your heart
And what's in the heart defines
The measure of a man