Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can't Do It Alone

Sometimes, we try to do too much.

I was watching a high school girls lacrosse game tonight, trying to watch as a fan but eventually falling into watching as a coach. Why? Because I have been coaching or mentoring coaches since I was 16 years old. I've coached Men's Softball, Women's Softball, Youth Baseball and Basketball, Girls High School Basketball, mentored a Girls High School Volleyball coach and other sports. I also played sports in high school and college and even played a little semi-pro baseball. So, it's tough for me to just sit back and enjoy as a fan. I'm always breaking down plays, looking at the whole playing field and figuring out what I would do to help my team win. Yeah, a little weird.

In watching the game tonight I saw players trying to force plays, play selfishly and play as if they were the only players on the field. They weren't playing for the school or for their their team to win. They were out there to show everyone how good they were. And in doing so, they showed everyone how bad they were, really. Taking the attitude of "I can do this all by myself, I'll show everyone how much of a superstar I really am." I've seen that attitude too many times as a coach and player. I've even done it a time or two myself. We all have, right? 

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a brief moment of thinking I can do this alone. I can do the treatments. Drive myself to the Doctors. Sit with a needle in my arm or hand while they pump chemo into my body and be there by myself. I don't want anyone to have to be there with me. I'm the one with cancer and I'm the one who is going to have to beat it. I can do it. I'm tough. Don't need anyone's help. And then it hit me––what a stubborn, pigheaded asshole I am.

You see, I was told by my Dad at 8 years old that I was going to have to be The Man Of The House. I was going to have to watch out for my Mom and my little Sister. I was going to be the only man in the house because he wasn't going to be around. I remember crying. I remember the look in my Dad's eye. I remember how that day changed my life forever. I needed to become responsible. I've felt that way ever since that day. So relying on someone else to be the strong one? C'mon, that was my job, my responsibility, my purpose in life. Hey, my Dad said so.

cancer kicks your ass up and down the street. And then kicks it again just for laughs. It plays with your ego, beats up your resolve and twists your heart and soul in knots in an effort to win. cancer plays to the death. It doesn't play fair. But one thing cancer doesn't count on is all the help you get. From your Doctors. From the radiation. From the chemo. My cancer didn't know that I wasn't going to give up. That I was going to be the toughest bastard ever. That I was bringing all the stops. From every where. From every one. cancer didn't know that I had this amazing family. An amazing family at work. An amazing group of friends, new and life long. cancer counted on me trying to do it alone.

No way was I going to try.