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Play Hard. Play Fair. Have Fun

Many of my clients are active in sports. They know it's important to keep moving and to stay active. The ages of my active clients vary between sixteen and seventy-six. Proof that no matter your age, you can still remain active. One thing all my clients-athletes have in common is this: they play hard, play fair, and have fun. They understand the true meaning of sportsmanship and fair play. And they understand the great value of having fun. If you're not having fun, then you are missing the point.

Back in the 80's and 90's, I was the varsity softball coach at Schurr High School in Montebello California. During that time, I had the great pleasure of coaching hundreds of student-athletes. We lived by the motto of playing hard, playing fair, and having fun. Each team became like family and strong bonds of friendship were established, some lasting well over 40 years. In the long run you tend to forget the scores and how many games you won or lost, but you always remember the relationships and the highlights of the season.

Recently, one of our pitchers, Melissa Parra, passed away from cancer, leaving behind three children. Over the years, Melissa and I remained in contact and our friendship lasted over 30 years. She still called me coach, which I loved. Melissa was also a softball coach and taught her daughter, Lauren, the fine art of pitching. When Melissa became too weak to walk, she would coach the team from her wheelchair. Needless to say, she was deeply respected and loved by all.

When Melissa's mother informed me that her daughter only had a few days to live, I called Melissa and sang, "Take me out to the ball game" over speaker phone, while family and friends gathered around her bed. Melissa passed away a few days later surrounded by her devoted family.

Her teammates from her high school softball team got together and contacted the high school. They quickly put together a Melissa Parra Memorial Athletic Scholarship in her honor. Melissa's teammates were able to send two graduating seniors to college to continue playing softball at Rio Hondo College and East Los Angeles College. Melissa's mother and daughter presented the scholarships to the graduating athletes.

Melissa's solid work ethic, sportsmanship, and pure joy of the game, live on in her children and in the Senior Class of 2022 at Schurr High School. One never knows what kind of an impact their life will have on others. But we can strive to leave behind a beautiful legacy like Melissa Parra. A life well lived and a life that keeps on giving even after you're gone.

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