I look back and realize that my parents accomplished everything I do now, nearly on a daily basis, all while working full-time and actively participating in the administrative aspects of the sports my brother and I were involved in.
My father, a cement mason throughout his entire career, endured the physical toll it took on his body. Despite working 8-10 hour days, he would come home, quickly grab a bite to eat, and then engage in playtime with my brother and me. I vividly remember him soaking his battered hands under the kitchen sink for some relief, carefully drying them with paper towels to avoid bloodstains on the dish towel, and then using band-aids and duct tape to cover the cracks in his hands, all so he could join us for a game of catch. As a child, I took all of this for granted, simply assuming that's what dads did. My father always did whatever it took to be the best dad he could be, despite the pain and discomfort.
Meanwhile, my mother worked in an insurance company, spending most of her day accomplishing tasks in an office setting for eight hours straight. Upon returning home, she would embark on a cleaning spree, tackle the laundry, assist my brother and me with our homework, and during the baseball season, even coach our teams. Yes, you read that correctly—my mom was my baseball coach from peewees through minors. Even when we reached minors and other coaches took over, she remained involved in our pursuits and interests, becoming the first female Wisconsin Umpire Association-certified umpire in the Milwaukee area. She continued to be on the field with us, albeit in a different role.
Looking back now, I honestly cannot fathom how they managed to survive amidst the incredible workload they took on.
As we grew older, both of my parents actively participated in fundraising for the extracurricular activities my brother and I pursued. They ran concession stands, worked in concession stands at Brewer games, and did everything they could to raise money. They truly did it all.
One of the driving reasons behind the creation of Fundraise Local is to alleviate at least one aspect of parents' lives. If my parents hadn't needed to worry about fundraising, they would have had more opportunities to sit in a chair on the sideline and watch us play, rather than tirelessly stand in a concession stand.