And more and more, I LOVE the desert. Before I met Alene, I couldn't give a rats behind about the desert. I thought it was ugly and worthless and for all I could care, they could do all their nuclear testing and garbage dumping there as much as possible. It's amazing how much a little influence of the one you love will do. My perspective is totally changed and now I'm in love.
So much in love, in fact, that recently something has weighed heavily on my mind: What do I REALLY love (besides my wife and my family). For a LONG time, I've always loved the game of Football. Not just watching it, but breaking it down, learning new techniques, new strategies, etc. Right out of HS I was coaching JV Football and at that time, found it to be my "calling" in life for the most part. I coached for 3 or so years, then moved to Utah and could not get back into it for many years because of work commitments. Then a buddy of mine was coaching a little league team and asked me to help out, which actually worked around my schedule. I finally got back into what I loved the most: coaching.
Anyway, I spent 3 years coaching the same group of kids, then moved on with them to the HS last year. I had a BLAST doing it, but something was a little different. I always wanted to be a coach that could "mold" players and influence them. I almost wanted to "save" the ones that needed saving and encourage the ones that needed encouraging. I think my viewpoint was like a fresh missionary going out to preach the gospel, I thought I could convert everyone I talked to. The truth is, I found I can't and it really gets to me deep inside. For some that don't know, some of the kids I worked with since they were 12, have recently been in trouble with the law and it eats at me so much.
What eats at me is that I REALLY cared about these kids so much, but they don't seem to really care that I care about them. I feel so distant from a lot of them, even during the season. I don't know if they're just afraid to let an "older" person get close to them or what. Sure, I yelled at them a lot and expected nothing but the best from them...but I don't know. It seems they just didn't really care that I cared, so why should I care??? Now that is what is troubling. I coach not only because I care, but I also just LOVE the game, but part of that Love comes from being able to give and care...it's a rock and a hard place kind of thing. Don't get me wrong, I know a good amount of the players also cared that I cared, but the ones that didn't....I don't know, it just bothered me.
This isn't about recognition. I don't care what anyone else thinks but the kids I coach. Honestly, I don't care about limelight, or looking like a "good guy". I just really wanted them to know that I wasn't just a coach, but a friend, and I don't think some of them got that.
Which is where my mind wrestles almost daily recently. Being that I'm loving the outdoors more and more, I often question why I spend a good portion of the outdoor season doing something that doesn't quite give off a return I thought I could get out of it? The Fall time is a GREAT time for camping and hiking, yet from August to mid-November, I spend every weekday and every weekend coaching. I guess because I love it, but if I'm loving the idea of camping and hiking more....am I going to give up on coaching soon? I just don't know...
It's almost like you have to choose one over the other. That goes for sports in general. Caiden is coming of the age where he can start playing serious organized sports. He plays baseball in the spring and will likely play tackle football this fall. Both require weekends (games) and weeknights (practice), which is a huge sacrifice to things that I'm starting to like more (hiking and camping).
How do other people do it? Especially if they love outdoors? Do they just not let their kids play sports? I can't imagine if Caiden becomes good enough at baseball, that if he wanted to play competition baseball (early teens), which takes up a TON Of time with travel to other states, etc. It would be so hard to tell him "no" if it didn't work out for what we wanted to do.
I don't know the answer to all of this. I guess we just see how everything goes and react to it. Just, as I think more and more.....sometimes I see myself just leaving my first love (coaching football) behind completely and taking up my second love (hiking/camping) and doing it for the rest of my life. I want to explore every inch of the desert in UT. There are so many things I'd love to get into. I want to explore technical canyons via rappel and go places hardly any people either dare to go, or just don't know about. I know I just need to be patient because I know I could accomplish this in my lifetime, even with my first love (football). Still, sometimes I just want to make exploring my life....I know if I did, for my families sake, things would be more relaxed and we would have more control. With the team sports and all that, you really have no control over anything (they set the schedule, the practice times, etc.)
Hmmmmmmmm, man this is tough.