Being the manager of a big-league ball club is a thankless job. Win, and itís the players who get the glory. Lose, and itís the coach whoís at fault.
That same perception often trickles down to the lower ranks of sports, from college to high school to youth leagues.
Especially when little kids are involved, the parents and other spectators are, for the most part, hugely supportive. They cheer on their kids, and clap even harder when the youngster without a hit all season suddenly bashes one into right field, or slips a shot past an unsuspecting goalie.
It takes a tremendous amount of work to get these kids to where they are. Coaches go through so much, from planning and running weekly practices to organizing lineups, attempting to put kids in the best position to succeed.
Even coaches at the lowest level put in numerous hours ó and, as the stakes rise, so does the commitment required to help put together a (hopefully) winning team.
The perception is often that the coach cares more about him or herself than the team.
While there are a few bad apples in every bunch, weíre convinced that the opposite is true, and that any coach worth his or her salt would go to untold lengths to sit in the background and watch his or her players shine.
Coaching isnít easy. It takes time, energy, effort, patience. It takes commitment that many arenít willing to give.
But take a look around. At any given ball park during the summer, there are dozens of kids in their short pants and ill-fitting caps out there playing baseball. And on every Saturday during the spring and fall months, hundreds more are lacing up their cleats and securing their shin pads for another early-morning soccer showdown.
And behind every team is at least one coach, and many times several coaches, who gladly give their energy and expertise to help these little kids grow in the sport they love.
Itís not easy, but itís truly rewarding. And we thank them for their time and dedication.