It's who we don't know we are influencing that means the most. Sometimes that means we might never know just how many lives we are impacting.
I am still learning of the lives Doug had influence on. I sit and read the 90 softballs that were left on our yard. Realizing there are names of athletes I have never met, athletes my girls don't know. Athletes at some point Doug had touched.
I love the story a girl from high school sent me. She was impacted by Doug because he smiled at her in the hallway, a simple smile people! They were not friends, she even stated most were not nice to her, but every time Doug passed her he would share a smile.
A sweet young boy standing in the cold at the bus stop right outside the Burger Den. Doug noticing him and taking him hot chocolate to sip on while he waited. Then telling the young boy, when you turn 16 you come talk to me and I will give you your first job. Holding true to his word the boy came in and Doug gave him his first job. The boy has grown into a young man and shared with me, it was Doug and what he did for me that has made me into who I am.
It only takes one small act of kindness that can change a life forever.
My heart melts and I am filled with honor with this next story. Doug and I love supporting Eagle football, I think it was Doug's way of being involved since he was blessed with three girls. Last November Doug passed away on game day, the boys were playing Highland. I was brought to tears by photos that were sent to me. Boys arms covered in "CORTA", "DC", "DOUG". What an honor these boys were showing. What has amazed me more is that as the season started this year boys arms still read "CORTA". Cleats have "DC" wrote on them, gloves are etched with the word "fight". When asked why they still do it, you quickly recognize it honestly doesn't take much to influence those we come in contact with. "He was always at the gate telling us go get 'em tonight" "Doug was such a huge supporter to our program" "I saw what he did for our community and I want to honor him" "He was a great guy" "He had so much strength". Boys of Eagle High football, you will never know what joy you brought my husband and you will not know what it means to his surviving wife that you still honor him!
Then when you think you are not influencing the very young, listen to this. Doug and I have dear friends who have a little boy. He calls me Auntie J and called Doug, "Uncle Doug". This sweet boy just turned 4! Since Doug passed this sweet boy has been over for haircuts, visits, and to hang out with me. Every time he usually asks me where is Uncle Doug and reminds me as we pass through the garage, "there is Uncle Doug's pick up". His mom has told me he states he misses Uncle Doug. It was his most recent haircut that made me realize how with minimal interaction we still somehow influence. Haircut went well, as we walked through the garage to go get a popsicle, he noticed the pick up was gone. Nothing was said by him, but I mentioned Demi took the pick up today. Popsicle in hand he wandered over towards all the softballs and photo of Doug that sit next to my fireplace. Here it came, "Auntie J, where is Uncle Doug?" As he walked towards me I said, " he is in heaven sweet boy." He climbed up the barstool, with his big brown eyes piercing my soul and asks, " why?" "Well sometimes when you get super super sick, the really bad sick you get to go live with Jesus in heaven." "Auntie J, will Uncle Doug come back?" "No sweetheart, he won't come back. But you can talk to Uncle Doug anytime you want and he will hear you." His mom says to him, the really cool thing is one day you will also get to live in heaven with Jesus and Uncle Doug. I leaned towards him and said, "by the time you get to heaven you will have had 500 motorcycles." He giggled, looks at me again with those big brown eyes and say, "Auntie J I know Uncle Doug will talk to me!" Yes sweet boy, I know for a fact Uncle Doug will talk to you. Remember I said he just turned 4. I can still see the precious high fives Doug would share with him, the complete attention Doug would give him as he showed Doug his toy trucks. The hugs good bye followed with, see ya later bud!
Influence, we are influencing every age we engage with at every moment we are present. I encourage everyone to be aware aware of the influence you have on others. By keeping Doug's legacy alive, I only hope to influence others as well as he did.
The legacy keeps building! I am privileged to be accepting an award this evening on behalf of Doug. It is humbling by the recognition he is receiving. This award is not based on win/loss recorders or titles won. It's more about your involvement in the community, your character and involvement with young athletes. It was his passion for starting Idaho Sliders Softball, to give young female athletes the opportunity to grow.Tomorrow night Doug will be honored with The Distinguished Coach of the Year for the state of Idaho in softball. I could not be more proud!
Titus 2:7 NLT
And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
Love and Blessings to all