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A Letter to Coaches' Kids

Brown University's economics department recently released a study that examined occupational dynasties -- the fields that sons are most likely to follow their fathers into. Nearly 15 percent of carpenters have a father that is also a carpenter, nearly 14 percent of doctors and 12.5 percent of plumbers do as well, as opposed to 1.54 percent of economists. Coaches weren't included in the study, but I'm betting the coaching profession would track much more closely with carpenters and doctors than economists. I have no scientific basis to back that up, but the number of clinic talks that include the phrase "I'm a coach's kid" somewhere in the beginning is well above 15 percent.

There's something self-insistent about coaching for a living. For many, coaching takes over the lives of those who do it much more than any job, because those who coach view it as much more than a job. It's a way of life not only for those who actually do it, but for every other life that way of life touches.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're a coach's kid. If not, there's a very high chance that you have -- or one day plan to have -- coach's kids of your own. Either way, this video essay will speak to you and your experiences.

The words used in that video are an essay published in March by Mrs. Coach Walk, republished below.

Dear Coach’s Kid,

I know you don’t know yet how unique your childhood is. You don’t know any different. But eventually you will find many of your friends cannot relate to your experiences. And, when that day comes, I hope you take pride in this life you’ve been living.

I hope you are proud of your daddy and his team. Find joy in their victories. Mourn with their defeats. But I hope you learn to cope with defeat and learn from challenges and failures. I hope you know how to be gracious in the face of both victory and defeat. I hope you will learn to always give your best and continuously make your best better.

I hope you learn to be flexible—with moves, with schedule changes, with travel plans, with new people. Your life is in constant flux. I hope that you will become excellent at adapting to new and unpredictable circumstances. I pray you won’t hunger for consistency. I pray you’ll grow to be someone who can excel in all circumstances because you’ve learned to embrace change and make the most of each unexpected situation.

I hope you will be selfless. I hope you will know this world does not revolve around you. I pray for your heart, hands, and feet to yearn to obediently serve the Lord, love His children, feed His sheep. I hope your days and weeks will feel incomplete without service to others.

I hope you will understand your daddy’s passion. He may be away a lot. He may miss a lot of your events because he has to be at his own, and I pray you don’t resent him for that. I hope you know how badly he wants to be there to support you in person and that he is supporting you from afar. Perhaps, like me, you will feel torn about wanting to be at his game to support him during your own event, too.

I hope you have strong role models, and I hope you’ll have the wisdom to discern which models you should follow and whose mistakes you should learn from. You will have so many “big brothers” to set examples for you—for better or worse. I pray you’ll observe closely and choose wisely when it’s your turn to follow in their footsteps and go off to college and become a young adult. I hope they all impact you in a positive way. Did you know you’re also teaching them to be role models? I hope you don’t realize it until much later because I don’t want you to have that pressure on you. But, someday, I hope you look back and remember many of them, that you remember the things they taught you and how they treated you. I hope you remember what you loved about each of them and use those memories as inspiration for how you treat others because someday you will be the role model.

I hope you love baseball and being a part of it with such fierce intensity throughout yourformative years. I hope you will someday look back with pride in how it shaped you. I pray your memories of days at the ballpark will be fond, that the days you eventually return as an adult will bring back the same childhood joy you experienced in your youth. I hope your soul will feel at home when your senses are filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the ballpark. I hope it will be an escape for you, a sanctuary.

This world is full of hurt and hardship, and as a coach’s kid, you will see a lot of these. You will see how to respond to them when they happen to you, and you will see how to act and serve when they happen to others. Too much in this world is negative. There is too much that you will not like. There are too many obstacles already in your way. I hope this coaching lifestyle is not one of those things.


The Coach’s Wife