Amazing what they endure

By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger/Placer Herald Sports Editor
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Although there are a number of stories of how Mother?s Day came about in this country the fact remains it is fervently celebrated ? as it should be. Motherhood isn?t looked upon like achieving stardom or obtaining a high office, it is more or less taken for granted except for that one special day. Roc Murray has been the coach of Rocklin High varsity baseball for nearly two decades. During that time, the Thunder has placed first or second in the Sierra Foothill League 12 out of the 15 years they have been in that conference. They?ve also won three Division II section titles. When I interview Coach Murray, 80 percent of our discussion turns to conversation. Although Mother?s Day wasn?t our chosen topic this week, Murray?s thoughts did turn to his wife, Debbie. He talked about what she, his family and the families of all coaches, have to endure during the season ? and beyond. There are off-season fundraisers and conditioning sessions and when coaching reaches the high school level or above it can become all-consuming. During any given season a head coach accompanies his or her team to every game, whether at home or away, and is there for every practice. That?s at least five days a week and often six. That means coming home late and/or giving up weekends. And if the coach has a full-time job as well it cuts a big swath out of one?s day. Because of that, a lot of sleep is often sacrificed in order to compensate and not just on the part of coaches. Case in point, Coach Murray said during one particular season his team made the playoffs and won their opening game. However, he said the Thunder wasn?t playing well and he wasn?t at all certain his club could defeat their next opponent, Ponderosa. One evening before that game, while pondering what strategy he could used to help his team against the Bruins, Debbie showed him some video clips she had taken of the team. So profound were the images, he commented to her a video of those clips could have a very positive effect on his team?s confidence going in. With that, he went to bed. At 2:30 in the morning, Debbie woke him up to show him the video she had put together. That next day he took it to school with him and showed it to his team. ?You could have heard a pin drop,? Murray said of how his players reacted after seeing it. Rocklin went on to beat Ponderosa that year and ended up in the championship game. I?m sure there are a thousand other stories like Coach Murray?s that other coaches could tell as to the sacrifices and efforts their spouses and families make each year. Since most of us only see what happens on the field or the court, we give little thought as to what goes on behind the scenes. Perhaps someone should write a book about it. However, Murray summed it up quite well when he said, ?It?s pretty amazing what the families of coaches put up with. It?s pretty amazing.? It is amazing. And, perhaps in some small way, helps explain why we celebrate Mother?s Day.