When I was growing up, my mom, Kathy (who underwent successful surgery for colon cancer in October) was, as you see with a lot of coaches' wives, the one taking my brother and I to practice, running us around town and making sure we were fed properly. Making sure we were showered and where we were supposed to be. She did a great job of raising my brother and I.
We spent a lot of time at the ball field with my dad. He was working so hard trying to build up that program at Oklahoma State, and we wanted to be there and spend time with him. So my mom did a tremendous job of keeping the family together, being the backbone of our family.
Being raised in a competitive sports environment, I felt, was always a blessing. It was something I cherished, and I think my brother feels the same way. My parents did a great job of keeping it fun for us, and letting us go out and play, not putting extra pressure on us just because dad was a baseball coach.
I think that's one of the cool things about Stillwater and the community there. We were never treated differently. We were able to enjoy a great upbringing in a really fun town.
I wish I had played basketball my senior year of high school. I played my freshman, sophomore and junior year on the varsity team. For some silly reason, I didn't play my senior year, thinking I had to get ready for the baseball draft. I really wish I had played.
If my kids are interested — and hopefully they will be — I will always encourage my kids, or any kids, to play all the sports you can. I think nowadays, with so many kids getting in one specific sport, and people encouraging it, trying to make a professional out of a kid — for me, I always looked forward to the next season, whatever it was, basketball, football or baseball.
I think kids get burned out these days, playing one sport year-round. Kids should play as many as they can. It's fun. You have that competitive spirit that you're using all year-round. It doesn't get old. You don't get tired of taking batting practice or working on your jumpshot or throwing footballs. Especially with younger kids, sometimes it's overkill, and kids will walk away from sports all together.