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One Proud Papa

By Stephen C. Schultz



The heat was radiating across my face. Small beads of sweat were building on my forehead. The sun reflected through the glass. Hot air swirled around me as though I was somehow stuck in the middle of one of those hot air popcorn poppers.

Such is the routine every time I get in my car while staying in St. George, Utah. Even with the windows cracked, it heats up like an oven. Then, when you turn on the air conditioning, it blows hot air for about twenty minutes. However, the fact that I was raised in the temperate climate of the Northwest United States and have yet to adjust to time spent in the desert, is not what this short muse is about. My purpose for writing this piece is actually quite different.


I recently had one of those parental experiences that don’t happen very often. It was an experience that took me by surprise…and since it happened, I have had to think a little bit more about it.

I was in St George for one of my daughters volleyball matches. She is on the team at Dixie State University. They are the defending champions of the PACWEST Conference. This is my daughter’s freshman year and there are obviously senior class mates on the team. So, needless to say, she doesn’t see much playing time in the matches.

As my wife, my youngest daughter and I were all walking into the gymnasium at Dixie State to watch one of her matches, I heard the announcer naming the starters. Standing at the ticket office, I heard him announce, “Amanda Schultz, starting at Outside!” I looked at my wife and we hurried into the gym and sat down.

I looked out on the court and there was Amanda, high fiving other girls, chattering the chatter and looking comfortable like she belonged there. My eyes started to blur a bit. Was I suffering from some unknown desert ailment? No…they were simply tears of joy for my daughter.

You see, others don’t know the commitment and time and determination she exhibited to get where she is. They don’t see the studying of film, the mental toughness, the time in the weight room and the 5:00am workouts with a Navy Seal trainer. She has worked hard. She has been patient. She has been supportive of her teammates. Whatever her success, she owns it! It’s her accomplishment. For that…I am tearfully happy for her. It’s the mastery of these skills and attitudes that she will take into life after volleyball. I have no doubt she will be successful in all of her life’s endeavors.

While this piece recognizes the hard work of my daughter, it is also about all of us...myself included. How many of us hope for "things" to turn out well, but don't take the necessary steps to see it through? How many of us wish for "things" to be different, but don't demonstrate the discipline needed to make it happen? Are there "things" we could be doing right now that will improve our own situation in life or the situation of loved ones?

What do you think?


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