UPON FURTHER REVIEW – When Real Life is More Then Sports

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I start this column with an apology, as I have been MIA most of June. I assure you my reasons are good.

MT

Although school is out for the summer as a former coach I know how important the months of June and July are to our city’s local high schools. I would never disappear without just cause.

First the good news; On June 7 just a half-hour before midnight, my wife and I welcomed our second child into the world. Baby is doing well.

His mom has had a rough month, please allow me to bring you up to speed on our last two-and-a-half weeks.

Our son came quickly and abruptly into the world and weighed over nine pounds at birth. My wife bled a lot in the hours immediately after he was born. However, by 4:00 a.m. the next morning the doctors at Kaiser thought things were under control.

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We went home and started to get use to the idea of being a family of four (my wife and I also have an amazing two year old). Unfortunately, there have been complications and a lot of stress.

My wife started bleeding again about a week after delivering our son, so much so that we had to make not one but two trips to the emergency room at odd hours of the night on consecutive days last week. When she was still bleeding this week her doctors recommended a surgical procedure. One they called “minor” and “low risk.”

Earlier today, I watched as my wife had a blood transfusion because she was so anemic she was at risk for all sorts of health issues. As I write this just before midnight on June 22, my wife is in surgery having yet another procedure. Words cannot convey how scary this ordeal has been. It puts all sorts of things into perspective. I just want to hear that my wife is now en route to recovery.

Enter the doctor on cue to tell me that the surgery went well and that they are optimistic they have solved what was causing the bleeding. It is good news, the best we’ve heard in some time, but not the guarantee I was looking for.

I am told we will know more in 24 hours and then even more in a week or so. I am also told she is in recovery and having another transfusion. I knew this was possible, perhaps likely, but I am still taken back at what a curveball life has thrown us the last 24 hours and over the last few weeks.

On Father’s Day my wife was in-between medical emergencies and we had a nice day. One of my friends had come by for a visit and a courtesy to me he said my son “looked like a ball player.”

My wife flashed her amazing smile and replied, “I think he looks like a dancer.”

I quickly clarified her vision for our son by saying, “I agree, he will be a dancer – he will be a champion on Dancing with the Stars after a long and distinguished NFL career.”

What I have been reminded of in recent days is how grateful I should be that my son and my daughter are healthy. I want them both to be whatever and whoever they want to be.

It is in sports and the arts that so many young people find who they are and what they want to be. Youth athletics and activities in the city of Burbank this month were testament to that.

The first Saturday in June I watched my daughter make her dance debut in the park and recreation’s annual “Spring Fling.” Last weekend I got e-mail reminders about a historic weekend for Burbank’s Little League baseball teams and the city’s “Roller Kings” as well.

For years I have looked down on the city’s lack of competitive youth leagues but this “ahh-ha” moment with my wife’s complications following the birth of our son has put things into perspective for me. Life is competitive enough let our kids be kids.

Those who still know me best as “Coach Crowther” are sure to think I’ve gone soft. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with competition (if the participants who want to get after it and compete). I still believe there is not only a place but a need for more competitive youth leagues in our city. I just think they should be additions, not replacements for what the city of Burbank already offers our kids.

It is a fine line between living for your kids and living through them. I cannot tell you how many times during my coaching days I saw both student-athletes playing ball merely to please their parents and parents who had those unrealistic parent goggles on when it came to their son’s potential as a player.

Too often we watch our kids chase championships in sports in life-or-death fashion because of the competitions off the field that we aren’t winning – the competitions to have the biggest house, the fastest car, or the biggest salary.

Although my kids are still young, the last couple of years have taught me how quickly time really does fly-by. It won’t be long before my kids are high school age. And although I know I want them involved in something (statistics show that teens involved in sports are nearly three times less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs or to have problems in school or with law enforcement), I know now that the sport or activity must come from their passions and interests, not my own.

MT