Hello. Jean Collins back with some lessons from a chat with a new friend. I dialed 1-326-FLAG and found Chip Wendell, an inspiring Little League Coach from Frisco, Texas.
Jean: I’m here with the PIC Newspaper and we’re here to listen to your story, Chip. What is it you do? What talents are you waiting for people to notice?
Chip: I coach a Little League team down here in Frisco.
Jean: So you work with some of our youngest citizens.
Chip: That’s exactly right. My wife Melanie says it’s a waste of time, but I’m certainly more of your persuasion!
Jean: A waste of time… is there something going on, Chip? Trouble in paradise?
Chip: Hahaha no, no, nothing like that, Jean. She just thinks sports are a bit silly, but she makes sure to come to our end-of-season banquet every year.
Jean: So tell me, Chip. Why did you start coaching Little League? Was it an interest of one of your children? Or was it just the allure of America’s pastime?
Chip: Well, it really started because I was looking for a good hobby. Melanie has her yoga in the evenings, and while she was doing that, I figured I should be doing something too!
Jean: Melanie has… and is there a yoga instructor?
Chip: Yeah it’s like a big group class.
Jean: Oh, Chip. Oh, sweet, sweet Chip. What is this instructor’s name?
Chip: Uhh… Beth?
Jean: And while your wife is at her yoga class, you’re helping these kids. Steadfast in the face of a challenge like this one.
Chip: A challenge?
Jean: Ever the optimist, Chip. A quality I’m sure has been valuable for your players. How does it feel to lead a team?
Chip: Oh, it’s so hard not to fall in love with kids.
Jean: Because there is no one else you can love? Because Melanie is so busy all the time at “yoga?” So you need a home outside of your home?
Jean: Chip, the word “hero” is one that I try not to use lightly. But when I think of you out on the diamond with these young Americans, with all the things you’re going through, teaching them everything but baseball, through baseball, it’s hard for me not to think of a superhero.
Chip: Well thanks, I guess.
Jean: Your understanding of yourself as a homemaker—as both a guardian and a mentor—is moving, Chip. And it makes me reconsider what we mean when we think of a “coach.”
Jean: Chip, we don’t have too much time left here. I have one more question, and I’d love a straight answer—do you think you can answer it for me?
Jean: When did you know for certain that you had lost Melanie.
Chip? Chip, are you there?
Chip, I think the connection’s gone bad.
What a fascinating interview. I’ve never seen such an impressive display of forgiveness—it’s clear that Chip still loves Melanie, in spite of what she’s done.
I’ll see you folks next week with words from another dedicated American. Until then, try to make your community feel more like home.