Mike Sautter’s vision for this story telling journey we go on each school year is crystal clear. It’s right there in his Twitter bio.
“Celebrating the story differently.”
And, as we kickoff a new school year, his content is already knocking it out of the park and getting you an inside look at a few Metro football programs.
But, know that we are also dads and so this week hits a little differently, too.
Mike sent his oldest off to kindergarten today. Tomorrow, I send my oldest, Addison, off to her senior year at Northwest High School.
Don’t blink, Mike. Senior pictures will be soon.
We are lucky — some think not, but I say so — that we have technology on our phones such that they can also double as our scrapbook. So I keep that special picture handy.
I am sure Mike will have one, too. So do you.
There are lessons in the journey between that first, first day of school picture and the last one. I think a lot about that as a dad. What did I miss? What could I do better?
I know that my family — and Mike’s family — gives up a lot when we are out telling stories. When we get home, everyone is in bed. I especially know this in the playoff push of October and November and in the brackets of late February and March. Our spouses are saints.
So when you come up to us on the sideline, or the bench behind the scorers table or the baseline of a gym and say thanks, well, that means the world to us. Because we think you know what we give up, but it’s always good to hear.
On a hot, sunny Wednesday before she headed to senior year, I bought Addison her staple — 6-inch ham on wheat, extra pickles — and we talked about that journey that Mike and Leighton, and their family, will go on.
The same one so many of you already have. Or are on right now. Whether it is the first first or the last first, or somewhere in between. It’s a journey we should all cherish.
“What would you tell that little girl if you could say something to her,” I said to Addison, partly afraid to get an answer.
“That your friends will change, and that’s not bad,” she said. “That sometimes you grow out of the things you love. And sometimes we find new things that we love that are even better.
“And,” she jokes, “sometimes it is okay to be the teacher’s pet.”
What advice would you give to mom and dad?
“Always take lots of pictures,” she says. “Your kids love to look at them. But don’t spend too much time on your phone.”
I think she might be on to me.
“And, thanks for always supporting me in all the things I do, even if it’s not sports.”
Addison definitely does not do sports. And, if I am being honest, I love that about her. She is her own soul. Her “team” is her tribe in the musical at Northwest (Tarzan is next week and if you are within shouting distance of The Island you can buy tickets here) and 14 Karat Gold show choir, which has been nationally recognized.
Trust me, it’s as much hard work as football, basketball and track.
What did that teach you that classes in school couldn’t? I wondered deep about what this answer would look like.
“I think I learned that life isn’t always about winning, but the people you are with,” she said. “Being around good people makes things so much better.”
Sometimes, in a world that is live (because of these darn phones) and that is full of black and white and no gray, we need some perspective. And, we can get it in a Subway on the day before school. From someone we love. I did anyway.
So, we hope this school year we can fill your timelines and inboxes with more great storytelling. With some perspective.
Perspective that might help you be a better coach or parent or athlete. That you might thank an official instead of yelling at them. That you might thank your school administrators for the time they spend away from their families so your kids can learn and participate.
“I hope I can enjoy everything,” she says of her senior year, but it goes for kindergarten and everything in between, too. “And, not let a negative experience or attitude get in the way of me enjoying my lasts.”
Me too, Addison. And, you too, Leighton. Enjoy all your days in kindergarten making new friends. All those new “firsts.” Before you know it, well….
See, these journeys, they go quick. Here’s to all of us enjoying them before it’s too late.