Religion

Kandi Farris: Lessons from playing ball

What do you do when October rolls around and your husband is a baseball coach? The same thing I did before I married this coach: Enjoy baseball. They call it "baseball fever," and you can sure catch the excitement.

The excitement intensifies when you have a pony in the horse race, doesn't it? Well, for my husband, Cooper, it makes having a "team" to root for difficult because the rosters of many teams in contention name "his" boys. Having coached for decades at the college level and then in the summer for the Valley League and the well-respected Cape Cod baseball league, he has poured his life into watching the boys of summer succeed in life.

Cooper has had a front row seat on draft day. Every year many of the "boys" are drafted to play in the majors. I am getting to see young men who were such neat human beings off the field play in the "bigs." For Cooper, this is the culmination of hard work and an intense desire to see these boys succeed both on and off the baseball arena.

This year alone there are five Astros -- Springer, Sipp, Keuchel, McHugh and Neshek -- who are guys he coached. The Cubs made a fabulous draft pick in Kyle Schwarber, who in his rookie year has been a catalyst at the bat. Kyle was the MVP for Coop's team in 2012. I could go on and on because boys who have been on teams Coop coached pepper the leagues. It's hard to choose a favorite. He roots for all of them.

So, for his birthday I found tickets, and we headed to Houston. It was wonderful to watch someone who cares so deeply about others get to spend time sharing memories with them. This is what coaching is all about: pouring your life into another, even if it is only for a summer. He has always said, "It's not all about the winning. It's the about the boys. Have a day. Make a memory." Because of that, everyone is a winner.

This is a "that'll preach" on many levels: hard work, sacrifice, dedication, long hours, all to see another succeed. It's not about self, but selflessness.

We are all called to be men and women who share the goal of giving ourselves to see others become their best. Moms, dads, teachers, youth leaders, grandparents, neighbors -- all of us were put here to encourage and to bring the best to the table, to bring the best out in others. To lead and to train others to be faithful and to do life well.

Men and women of faith, you are coaches. When we know all Christ did for us, the rest is a piece of cake. Philippians 2 reminds us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

Kandi Farris, a freelance correspondent, also is a speaker on matters of faith and values.

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