A funny thing happened during my first edit of my first manuscript of my new book, Coach Dave. My eyes leaked. Several different times.
I spent 16 years as a high school coach, pouring myself into my craft. My goal was to find one school where I would coach for 40 years, win multiple state titles, and influence generations of young men. But the Lord had other plans. Still…
In the 13 years since I coached my last game, I have never lost my love of the game of baseball. My respect for the guys who coach it at a high level simply for the love of the game and for the young men they coach has only grown. The biggest change over the last decade-plus has been the perspective I have gained. That perspective is what produced the tears.
A Different Kind of Baseball Book Rooted in a Love of the Game
Coach Dave is a collection of some of the best experiences I had as a baseball player, coach, parent, and fan. While I could write a book railing on the many broken parts of youth baseball, I chose instead to write from the best practices I have experienced and observed. To write about the game at its best. To focus on the beauty of being able to learn life lessons through a game. To see youth baseball for what it could be.
The reading level of Coach Dave is geared toward 10-12-year-old boys. However, it is written from the perspective of a baseball dad. Coach Dave’s character is the catalyst for a group of dads and their sons to see the game in a different way. It will be best read by dads out loud to their sons. It will be a book that will remind youth coaches of the reason many of them volunteered in the first place. It will be a book that entire teams can read and benefit from together.
My love of the game is evident in some of the stories contained in Coach Dave. As I read the book in its entirety–extremely raw and with the conclusion still left to be decided in the bottom of the last inning–I didn’t remember wins and losses like I remembered people whose love of the game drove them to do things worth remembering.
- I remember Reggie’s first hit, a walk-off, inside-the-park grand slam that solidified my call to a career in coaching.
- I remember Gerald, a parent who made sure I was able to coach my team without interference from other parents. He died in a car accident many years ago now, but our shared love of the game and the kids who play it lives on in me.
- I remember Rob, who once told me that he was glad that someone took his position because it made us a better team.
- I remember Jonathan, who willingly and intentionally gave away his position to a better player who transferred to our school mid-season.
- I remember David–Coach David–who gave the most impacting post-game speech this baseball guy has ever heard…to a group of eight-year-old boys, no less. I continue to replay that speech to the Little Fella who won’t understand its full impact for years to come. Coach David’s love of the game and his respect for it earned him the title character of my book.
Related Blog Post: Reflections on Coach Dave Season One
Al Ainsworth tells good, clean stories. Click here to read about him and his books.