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Happy Father's Day, Coach, and thanks

Happy Father's Day, Coach, and thanks debgardner.jpg
First off, I want to thank my intern, Callie Williams, for sharing her experiences with multi-generational travel with PRIME's readers this month. According to her research, this has become a hot trend, and a new way multi-tasking generations are keeping the family ties connected. I guess my family was way ahead of the curve in this respect; we started trekking to the Cape with my grandparents in tow way back in the 1960s. My mom and dad looked at these trips as a way of paying my Mom's parents back for all their help financial and emotional during the early years of their marriage. As for me, I cherish memories of warm afternoons sitting on the front porch of our rented cabin, listening to stories of how my grandparents met, and what their childhoods were like. I hope today's families make as many memories. To all the coaches . Still, this is my June issue, one where, in the past, I've usually given some nod to men and their role as fathers. This year, I want to give a big, public thank-you to the men who give or have given of themselves to work with boys as coaches, scout leaders, youth group leaders and mentors. My dad had two daughters, so I never got to observe the dedication and patience of the men who volunteer to coach sports until this spring. My husband, John, signed up to be a coach's helper for my son's Under 9 baseball team this season, and by default, I've become the team's bench mom. That's given me a front-row seat to observe what it means to be a coach. On game and practice days, John rushes home early, gobbles a sandwich and dons shorts and a tee shirt before racing out the door to get to the field early. His cell phone rings at least once: one of the other coaches is checking in to be sure someone is going to be there for the boys who get dropped off before game time. I've watched the team's head coach, Steve, fold his more-than-six-foot frame down to eye level as he talked gently with a four-foot-something baseman who was having trouble playing his position. Coach AJ has shown up at practice with a special batting helmet one with a face guard for the boy who's afraid of being beaned by a pitch. Coach Enoc has spent two-hour practices pulling the zip line again and again to help the boys learn to how to bat. Dads all, for 12 weeks they've each added a dozen more "sons" who need encouragement, direction, patience, and sometimes, quiet discipline. It's a big job, with no pay, and no way of knowing how much difference it might make in a young boy's life. My husband's still a little startled when one of the boys calls him "Coach John." And then, he smiles. Debbie Gardnerr PRIME Editor dgardner@reminderpublications.com