I tried to post this blog last week but due to technical difficulties, namely my lack of understanding of technology, I was unable to publish my thoughts on having our book released to the public. Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports hit the bookstores and orders were filled on Tuesday, March 8.
In looking through files as I started the process of organizing my notes, folders and resources that have been spread out in many parts of the house and my office during the writing process, I came across notes from the first brainstorming session with folks from MennoMedia, exploring the idea of a book. Amy Gingerich and Melodie Davis invited me to their offices to reflect on the content two radio spots I had just recorded with Melodie on this subject of youth sports, families and congregations. The date was March 13, 2013.
So it took almost three years to the day for their idea to become a reality. Soon after I moved to Harrisonburg, VA from Lancaster, PA, the person who helped get me started in the journey of examining the world of youth sports, Jim Smucker mentioned to me that I should consider writing a book. And as I spoke in more places, the question, “So when is book coming out” became a more regular part of conversations following my presentation.
I thought this would be easy. I love speaking about sports. I had a neatly packaged outline that I used in most settings where I was invited to speak about youth sports, families and church activities. In fact, during the first brainstorming session, my five point outline was seen as a possible framework for chapters of the book. Valerie Weaver-Zercher, managing editor for Herald Press, picked up the mantle from that brainstorming session and began providing a steady stream of encouragement to writing a manuscript.
So I started. Well, without going into all the details, it didn’t take me long to realize this was going to be a challenging task for me. Writing simply didn’t come as easy as speaking. Or at least I soon realized that it doesn’t work to just convert my speaking to printed words. But alas, I wasn’t going to give up. A good athlete never gives up after one challenge. The encouragement became stronger – not quite pressure but close to it – and for good reason.
One day Valerie gently asked if I would be open to the possibility of someone coming “along side of me” to help me finish the project. My internal response was “no way, I can do this”. Besides isn’t that what I’m supposed to say. My external response was, “let me try it myself one more time”. So I took several afternoons off work at the university and sequestered myself in a classroom at Zion Mennonite Church in Broadway. After three days, I realized this wasn’t going to work. I needed help. I had allowed my pride to get in the way for too long. The material I wanted to get into the hands of parents and grandparents was too important to let my pride highjack this project. I sheepishly responded to Valerie that I was ready to have them find someone to work with me.
And I’ll tell the rest of the story in the next post.