Most children get their Mom a card and flowers for Mother’s Day. Taryn McGinley got her mother a couple of hits in the leadoff spot, some nice stops in the field, and a win in the standings.
Taryn plays third base for the Kings Park softball team. The coach of the team is her mother, Kim. And Mother’s Day will be a little more festive thanks to King’s Park’s 12-1 win over West Babylon on Saturday.
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“Coming out with a W makes the day even more special,” Kim said.
Kim, who is in her 18th season as head coach at Kings Park, has had one of her daughters on the team in each season since 2004. Her eldest daughter, Heather started the streak in 2005. It was carried on by Megan, and will end with Taryn, who is in her fifth and final season.
“She’s a great coach,” said Taryn, who will play at Cortland University, her mother’s alma mater. “She cares so much about the game and about every girl on the team. She treats them all like they are her daughters.”
A former softball player herself, Kim first decided to get into coaching when a little league coach made Heather, a lefty, field as a righty.
“I couldn’t say anything unless I was willing to step up to the plate and coach,” Kim said. “And that’s what got me so deeply involved in softball.”
Since then, the family has learned to handle what can be a tricky Coach/Mom and Player/Daughter crossover. There was no preferential treatment. In fact, Kim says it was quite the opposite.
“They had to prove themselves as a player, not as my daughter,” she said. “I couldn’t give them any special treatment. They had to earn their spots. I was probably harder on my daughters than I am on any of the other players.”
Taryn says that extra pressure from her coach and mother was actually beneficial.
“It helped me in so many ways,” she said. “I had to prove my spot on the team, especially because I came up in eighth grade and I was so young. Her expecting more from me and pushing me to be better has made me the best player I can be today.”
The car ride home, and conversations at the dinner table are rarely spent discussing a strikeout at the plate or an error made in the field. Softball talk is kept mostly at the field.
“We try not to bring it into the house,” Kim said. “Her father on the other hand, that’s different,” she added with a laugh.
Kim and Taryn both have a rare day off from softball on Sunday. So they said they’ll be going out to eat for what will be their final Mother’s Day together as player and coach. And Taryn did get her Mom another gift to go along with the hits, the putouts, and the win.
“She loves to plant so I got her a tree for her garden,” Taryn said. “She honestly does deserve the best Mother’s Day cause she the best mother. And she’s the best coach, too.”