Good morning! The clean up in the Northeast begins. Thank goodness Irene was downgraded. It could have been much worse. Did you see that there is another one in the Caribbean? Yikes!
To day, I would love to pay tribute to one of Buddy's baseball coaches who is currently in hospice. The prognosis is grim and his current status is touch and go. With that said, Coach A is one of Buddy's former American Legion coaches. He is somewhere north of 60 years old and has devoted his life to the community. The past twenty years or so, he has been coaching baseball. Of note, he has been coaching kids other than his sons who are grown with their own families. This has made him unique, because most of the coaches are coaching to give their own sons advantages, but not Coach A. As a matter of fact, he has been volunteering and paying for his own expenses for a number of years.
I got to know Coach A a few years ago. He drove his Honda to West Virginia for a tournament one summer in June. The tournament took place over Father's Day weekend and he chose to spend the weekend with boys and families that were not his own. Anyway, I attempted to follow the Honda on the turnpike without success. He flew as if his passenger was about to give birth in the front seat. After a few hours of white knuckled driving, I let him go and I drove at a safer speed. This was the start of the jokes that came about his Mr. Magoo driving. While in WV, his Honda got stuck on active railroad tracks. He must have hit a hole and he and the coach were stuck for a few desperate minutes. Finally Coach A was able to unhook the car and drive to safety. I told Buddy that he was never to drive in Coach's car (actually, I did not need to, because none of the kids were brave enough to attempt it). I am sure that his passengers needed a blindfold and cigarette every time they sat in the car with him.
Anyway, he loved his team and did all that he could to mentor the boys. He was calm when the head coach was fired up. He had a great sense of humor and loved a cold beer and a good story. While he has been sick, many of his friends and former players have stopped by to see him and thank him for all that he has done for them. As the disease started to actively take his life, he told a mutual friend to give Buddy a message. Imagine...doesn't he other things or people to think about besides my son?
The friend called dad to relay Coach A's message to Buddy which is: "Tell Buddy that I believe in him and that he will go all the way...." As I typed the words, I get a bit emotional. Isn't this what it is all about? Leaving a positive legacy on the world? Thinking of others during times of crisis? Loving kids and continuing to mentor them even on the death bed? I am humbled and grateful that Coach A was such a positive influence on my son's life. God bless you Coach A and your family. You will never be forgotten as you have impacted hundreds of kids during their formative years.