By Emma Stotz
November 16, 2012
My younger brother and I always gave Dad a “good luck kiss” before each game as kids. It was our tradition. Dad has always been big on tradition, which may explain his thirty-seven year long coaching career at Stanford University. His job as a baseball coach has always been a family ordeal, never neglecting to drag us into a plethora of recruiting dinners, team banquets, games, and even the occasional afternoon practice when Mom wasn’t available to pick us up from school. I would sit there for hours after school watching batting practice, taking in every swing, every dive, and every catch until it was finally time to head home. But the baseball didn’t end there. It came home with us, too. Children often complain when their fathers bring their work home with them. But when I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for my dad to bring his work home. There was nothing I loved more than to congregate around the dinner table each night and discuss baseball over a plate of mashed potatoes. All in all, baseball was never considered just his career, but rather, a way of life for all of us within the family.
The baseball diamond has always been my sanctuary; a place where I could run around freely, eat rice krispie treats until my stomach churned, and eaves drop on conversations amongst the adults. Even today, it is the place where I go to focus, clear my head, and ponder some of my most difficult life circumstances. But even as a kid, I understood the field to be my home away from home and the team as a part of my extended family. I looked up to the majority of the boys like brothers. Luckily for me, many of them took on the brotherly role quite actively, helping to enhance my worldly knowledge and ensure that I could hold my own in a group full of boys. They made sure I knew every word to Pearl Jam’s greatest hits, how to spit sunflower seeds like an authentic ball player, and how to play poker by the age of eight. Not many people can say they grew up under the wings of hundreds of brothers, but then again, not many people grew up with a baseball coach for a father.