There are some acts of generosity you’ll never forget. Even if it’s not until much later that you understand and appreciate the sacrifice. That’s certainly the case for me with my baseball coaches all those years ago.
I started playing baseball when I was just a little kid. It was really the great love of my life back then. We’d play in the backyard until the evening shadows made it too hard to find the baseball hit into the weeds. Sometimes when there was no one to play catch with, I’d get a slat of wood and hit rocks by the railroad tracks. I won many a World Series with a line drive off my wood slat.
So when I got to play in my first organized league I was beyond excited. But I had a problem: how to get to games and practices. My mom didn’t drive, and my dad’s work schedule and alcoholism made him unreliable. So I had to rely upon friends.
In many cases those friends couldn’t be counted on either. So it was my coaches who drove me. Two of them in particular —Joe Testerman and then later Dale Risker. For Dale in particular, he lived all the way on the other side of town. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it. I was just a kid, and I wanted to play baseball.
But looking back now I realize what a sacrifice they were making. They’d coach practice and still have the long drive back to their home, their kids and their family. Now all these years later, I find myself reflecting, thinking about what it cost them.
Perhaps in their own mind it wasn’t about the cost but about the gain. I’m grateful. Those men invested in me. Their generosity helped to shape the person I am today.
Can you think of the people that invested and gave to you? Share those stories. Let the legacy of sacrificial generosity live on.
Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash
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Published April 2, 2021