Sunday, August 09, 2009

Coach

My husband lost his mother less than a week ago, and just a few minutes ago I watched him jump, cannon-ball style, into our pool while his adoring fans squealed with delight as his 200 pound body hit the water making enormous waves. He never ceases to amaze me ~ his strength, his gentleness, his courage, his perseverance. We are both trying to adjust and figure out this new normal.

I'm really not sure why I am writing this post. I guess because I want to remember the interaction between the two ~ the coach and the player. The interaction lasted only a few minutes, but what I witnessed is etched in my mind ~ I am hoping for good. And, in case I forget, I will have this post to remind myself and my Erik. :-)

Over the last 13 years I have seen my sweet husband play the role of coach many, many times. I have seen him coach our sons in every sport available to American little boys. But, not just in sports, I have watched him coach youth, young men, and, of course, my sweet sons in the game of life. But, there have been very few times that I have seen my husband play the role of player ~ looking deep into his coach's eyes for direction, for guidance, for encouragement.

Rewind to Wednesday morning, his mother's memorial service. . . We got to the chapel early to greet the guests. So many friends and family gathered around and surrounded us with great love. And, I was quite a little mess of tears and tissues, but my husband was a rock until. . .

the receiving line brought him face to face with his high school basketball coach and his wife. They treated Erik like family.

I am just going to refer to him as Coach.

You see, Coach was the kind of coach we all want to coach our sons. He didn't just coach them in basketball. No, in the same category as Wooden and Meyer, Coach coached his players at the game of life. My husband has huge respect for Coach. And, other than his Dad, I can't think of another man that he has mentioned God using to shape and mold him into the man he is today.

Coach.

I don't know him well, but I love him much. His eyes are clear and blue ~ the kind that pierce through you but have an undeniable tenderness at the same time. And, his wife has always loved my Erik like one of her own. Years go by in between the times that we see them, but nothing changes, they treat Erik like a son. All that said. . .

I left Erik for a few minutes to hug Deana B. She and I talked for a moment, and then she asked, "Who is that Erik is hugging?" I turned around to see my big strong husband crumbling in the arms of Coach's wife. Coach was standing behind her waiting for his turn to speak to my husband. I watched as Erik embraced and exchanged words with his coach, and I couldn't get to them fast enough. I longed to hear their interaction. I got to them just in time to witness this. . .

The line was pressing, and it was time for Coach and his wife to move forward and give others a chance to speak with the family. But, before Coach walked on, he took his hand and pressed it HARD into Erik's chest and said two simple words with the force and intensity of a coach at a Championship Ball game ~ last 5 seconds, 3 point game. Only this wasn't a Championship game, this wasn't a game at all. This was more than that, this was life, real life, unfair, undeserving, heart wrenching, life. But, remember, I told you, Coach wasn't just good at coaching basketball. So, here he was in a room full of teary, emotionally weak people, coaching one of his favorite players. The two words he said as he lovingly pounded his hand into Erik's chest were. . .

"Be Strong."

And, my husband choking back tears did not hesitate. He looked his favorite coach right in the eyes, right straight through to Coach's soul, and said words that rang in my ears for hours afterward. . .

"You know I will, Coach. You know I will."

Coach filling up with a bit of emotion himself at this point, smiled knowingly, "Yes, I do know. I know you will. I know you will."

And, for a brief second, I saw my teary, starched shirt wearing husband transformed into a sweaty, jersey clad teenage boy standing before his coach assuring his coach that he would not let him down. And, his coach staring back at him with great intensity saying, "I believe in you. I know your character, and I believe in you. You can do this. Be strong."

It was a quick interaction, but, man, it tore me up. I am so thankful for Coach and all that he means to my husband.

And, for all you coaches' wives out there, you have no idea how much your husbands' shape the lives of their players. It is an awesome thing.

I am so grateful.

6 comments:

picturesofhisgrace said...

Blessed by your post, as always! Thanks for sharing your heart, Erin! I love you and you guys have been on my mind a lot.

by Cheri said...

tears are trickling down my face as you have captured the moment between Erik & "coach" so well. Thanks for sharing.

My Bright Corner said...

What IS it about coaches that leave such a mark on our lives? My coach will always leave a unique impression on my life. And my dad's HS basketball coach always holds a treasured place in our family's heart(s).

This post brought tears to my eyes.

Kelly said...

Beautifully shared, as always. My husband has been coaching since he was 18, and your words are such a wonderful reminder of the impact of what he does.
I have to tell you, that even though you are younger than I, your tender heart for your husband has influenced my own attitude towards my own. You so clearly treasure him, and when I read your posts, I am so often reminded of my own amazing husband, and feel convicted to let him know how grateful I am for him. Just wanted to let you know that your love for your family carries on to impact the lives of others you don't even know. God is using you:-)

Malisa @ My Lil' Corner of the World said...

Beautiful post, Erin. Beautiful post. What a wonderful person that your husband has in his life. And, what a wonderfully beautiful interaction during a very hard time.

ADH said...

i knew this coach too, his wife had a great influence in my life...unbeknownst to her....they are truly a remarkable couple. thanks for sharing this moment with the rest of us. i am praying for you and your family during this very difficult time. i lost my dad a few years ago, God is faithful...our weaknesses are made perfect in His strength. God's blessings!

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Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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