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Pondering My Retirement

posted June 5, 2008 @ 6:26 AM  |  Health and Nutrition category

Note: In my "other job" I'm often reading economic journals related to forecasts and trends in the global economy. Today from Investors Insight there's a wonderful article related to Corn Ethanol. Happily for all of you in the athletic community, the author Gary Halbert also has an "other job", one that he's unfortunately considering retirement. Read below.

~By Gary Halbert

It was 32 years ago this month when I began my career in the investment business in 1976 at the ripe old age of 24. I have been in it ever since. It has been an interesting ride, and I have always had the hands-down best clients on the planet. But this year, I've been thinking of retiring. Yes, retiring at the age of 56.

But before you drop your jaw, let me assure you I am not thinking about retiring from my career in the investment business. Rather, I am considering retiring from my other job which is coaching youth sports. My son graduated from high school in May and will be off to college in the fall, so my coaching days, with him at least, are officially over.

I never had any intention of coaching my kids in sports. I was not a star athlete in high school or college, although I did play football, basketball and baseball as I was growing up. No, I was abducted into coaching, completely to my surprise. The abduction began in 1995, I think it was, when I took my son to his first tee-ball practice. When we arrived, I saw only one adult man there with 12-14 little kids. Out of concern for safety, I hung around waiting for the other coach to show up. No one did, so I stayed and helped for the whole practice. The same thing happened the next day.

At the end of the second practice, the coach called me over to his pickup truck. He reached inside and handed me a cap and a tee shirt and quietly said, You'll be my assistant coach. What, me a coach?

What I didn't know was that this man was the head of the local Youth Association in our area. What I also didn't know was that he coached everything year-round - baseball, football and basketball. The tee-ball season was such a joy, despite my lack of experience, that I followed him into football as a coach in the fall, and on to basketball after that.

I had no idea that I would end up coaching my two kids year-round for the next 12 years. More importantly, I had no idea that coaching would become such a demanding and rewarding part of my life. The folks in my office call it my "other job."

I can't begin to describe how much coaching has meant to me, how much closer it has drawn me to my two kids, and how it has introduced me to some of the best friends I have ever had.

Most of the guys I coached with in the early years sent their kids to public schools, so their coaching careers ended after only a few years. My kids, on the other hand, have always attended a private Christian school that is always looking for volunteer Dads to coach. So I continued to coach my kids through middle school and high school.

Coaching these kids over the years has given me many of the best memories I have had in my life. My daughter will be a junior in high school this fall, but I don't coach her basketball team anymore. So when the final pitch was thrown and the final out was made in my son's last baseball playoff game in early May, it hit me in the dugout afterward as I was packing all the equipment: my coaching career may be over.

I have a standing invitation with the Athletic Director at our school to return next year and continue coaching. In fact, he frequently asks, You are coming back, right? I've been thinking about it a great deal over the last month. I just don't know if I will continue to be so passionate about it without a kid on the teams.

I haven't made my mind up yet, but I am thinking of just being a fan next school year, and see what that's like. If I can't stand being in the bleachers, I can always un-retire the next year. I know I'll dearly miss those kids calling me Coach Halbert.

Kudos To My Son

Since this E-Letter is free of charge, I want to brag for a moment about my oldest child who just graduated from high school. He graduated Magna Cum Laude along with seven other students in his class, making straight As in his senior year. In football, he made the All-District and All-State first teams as a record-setting wide receiver. He also made the All-State Academic Team based on his school grades. In basketball and baseball, he also won All-District honors.

He was the only student in his class to win such honors in three different sports in one school year. He was nominated by our Athletic Director for "Athlete of the Year" in the Texas Association of Private & Parochial Schools statewide.

Watching him present his Senior Thesis (a requirement at our school) and hit it out of the park, if I do say so myself, and then watching him graduate from high school has been a very emotional experience for me. I'm not ready to let him go, but at the same time, I have every confidence that he will do very well in college where he plans to pursue a degree in engineering.

Debi and I are very proud of him!

Now that our son will be off at college, our high school sports focus will now be my daughter's activities. While she doesn't play as many sports as our son, she is definitely just as competitive!

(Thanks for indulging me.)

Best regards,

Coach Halbert


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