It has been a while since I’ve seen you and I hope you and your family are doing well. From time to time something will happen that makes me immediately think of you and football. And it happened last Friday night at my grandson’s Little League game.
Believe it or not, it has been 20 years since my Johnny graduated from high school. As a single mother, I didn’t really understand football and didn’t want him to play. But he loved being around you at school and he finally talked me into it. As I told you before, you taught him so many life lessons through football. He still uses those lessons today and I am very proud of the man and father he has become. We owe much of that to you.
Johnny coaches my grandson’s Little League team. Kyle is only 12 years old, but he is a really good player. He pitches and plays shortstop, and led the league in hitting. Friday night we were playing in the first round of the state tournament. We had a one run lead and the bases were loaded with two outs in the last inning. They hit a slow ball to Kyle at shortstop and it looked like it might be the final out. But he threw the ball high to 1st base and two runs scored to give the other team the win. I could see that Kyle was devastated.
After the game, Johnny went over and gave him a hug and talked to him for a minute or two. Then he talked to the team. When they got to the car, they were both OK.
The next morning, I asked Kyle what his Dad said to him. He said that Johnny told him to hold his head high. That without his great effort and leadership, the team would never have gotten this far. Kyle said, “He told me that everyone fails, everyone messes up. And that I would never be remembered for my failures, but I would be remembered for my comebacks. And he told me one other thing that really stuck with me.” So I asked him what that was and he said, ” Dad said that only the toughest people can make comebacks, because comebacks are completely about courage.”
That sounded just like what Johnny’s football coach said to him in that playoff game when he dropped the pass in the end zone in the 4th quarter that we both know would have given us the win. You made it right with the team and you made it right with him. From that day to this he has done nothing but prove you right about comebacks.
Thank you Coach for teaching my grandson such an important lesson through his father. The things you believed in are being shared by your players to their children and others they come in contact with each day. Your legacy lives on!
By the way, Kyle pitched a shut out the next day and had three hits! Once again, you taught our family how to take a bad moment in life, face it with courage and turn it into a comeback!
Your friend always,