|Greg with wife, Loa, at the birth of Cody, with Richard and Amber showing affection for their newborn brother!|
He was one of the best athletes we've had since I've been at WCS. Very likable, floppy haired, pretty good at anything having to do with a ball kind of kid who was funny and intelligent as well. I got to know him a little bit through baseball the only year he was with us. Like many youngsters that age, he could be frustrating; I never thought he took anything seriously but then, maybe some of my coaches thought the same of me. I remember watching him during timeouts on the football field dancing to whatever our band was playing instead of joining his teammates in the huddle. But like I said, that just seemed to be his personality with no harm ever intended. I can't recall many specifics of his personal life except that his mom was raising him by herself and he often had to get one of the coaches to give him a ride home. That's how I know what I'm about to tell you.
One day, he needed transportation after practice. I volunteered and we happened to drive the back way of our practice facility. Our path led us by the batting cage and saw what to me was a typical scene. Our AD/boys basketball coach, Greg Glenn, was in the cage with one his sons, either Richard or Cody, or maybe it was both of them. Just a dad throwing baseballs for his son to hit. Greg and my passenger had a history and it had not ended well with the young man in our basketball program which at the time was a state and sometimes a national power. After we passed the batting cage, we had a conversation in which I did not say a word. The young man said this:
"You know, it didn't work out for me in basketball but Coach Glenn is a good coach."
I'm sure I nodded. He continued.
"And he's a good dad."
I'm sure I nodded in agreement once more. And then he said this:
"I wish he was my dad."
There are very few conversations in life we remember word for word even five minutes later, let alone when years have elapsed, but those final six words are etched as deeply in my mind as on stone carved with a chisel. I didn't know how to react and I can't say if I replied but I know my heart hurt. Not once in my life had I ever wished someone other than my dad was MY DAD. I could not even conceive thinking that thought. And yet, deep down, I guess I knew some kids covet what I never doubted. That teenage boy longed for a father like Greg, a Christian man who would nurture him, teach him, discipline him, love him, and yes, throw baseballs to him by the hour out of the public eye. But even though we might not have been blessed on this side of eternity with a wonderful dad, it isn't hopeless! Look what John wrote in his first epistle, chapter three and verse one:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
We can never make up for another's pain but we can encourage and pray and show the affection some never received. This may be a small step but I bet I spent half an hour today going down the Facebook page and liking every dad post I saw. I just wish everybody liked their dad the way I liked mine. Kudos, Greg- at least one young man dreamed you were that guy.
Applicable quote of the day: