One of the fantastic side benefits of your days as a coach is the relationships that are established in two ways. First and most important is your impact on the lives of your players. Like it or not, you ARE a role model for these young men – they look up to you and watch your every move. I used to have parents that would come to me on the sly and ask if I could “encourage” little Johnny to do this or that. It seems that he would listen to me more so than his mom or dad. They also pay close attention to your “discussions” with umpires. Be aware of the little eyes that are watching you (see my December 2008 post).
In addition to the relationships that are established with your players you will also find that great friends are made with the parents of your players. My wife and I still socialize with several couples that we met at the ball field over the years.
These relationships became evident recently when I had an opportunity to do a book signing at a local Barnes & Nobles. The place was packed with parents and former players lined up to have me sign a copy of their book. One dad told me that his son had cancelled a rather important date to be at my signing. Others drove home for the weekend from their colleges. It was extremely gratifying to see them and reminisce about the good ole days of the “Birds”.
Be aware of the impact you are having on young lives and be cognizant of the fact that you are possibly making some life-long friends with their parents. Treasure the experience – it goes by quickly.