What’s not to love

When the Mundelein Thunder team I coached this year was getting ready to head down to Northern Nationals I was thrown for a last-minute loop. We were scheduled to head to the tournament on a Tuesday. The Saturday before two players said they weren’t going to be able to attend. With one other already unsure if she’d be able to go due to a family emergency, things were looking bleak. I had exactly nine players going. It was time to start scrambling.

I called a girl named Kathleen who had played for me the year before, and who I had worked with on her hitting during the high school and travel season. (Kathleen had left due as much to a political issue with her high school as anything. Things happen, ya know?)

In any case, I knew her summer team wasn’t going anywhere for Nationals since I’d already snagged one girl back, so three days before it was time to leave I asked if she’d like to go with us. She jumped at the chance. She rearranged her work schedule, her parents got vacation time, and she joined us for the tournament.

That would be pretty cool by itself. What I just found out, though, is that not only did she do all of that, she played with a finger that was either badly bruised or broken. I never knew it, she never complained or said “I can’t do that.” She was just happy to have the chance to be there, and willing to do whatever it took.

That kind of thing doesn’t show up in a stat sheet. You can’t measure it with a stopwatch or a tape measure. But any coach should be thrilled to have someone with that kind of heart and dedication. In this self-centered day and age those qualities seem to be few and far between.
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