Coaches rent. The big-timers buy, but the younger coaches, the newer coaches — rent.

You rent because each job is temporary. You rent because it’s what you can afford. You rent because you leave.

We moved to Lubbock when my daughter was three months old. She caught her first cold in Lubbock. She took her first steps in Lubbock. When she was 18 months old, she climbed atop her dresser and called out to me for assistance. I was horrified. One, because she almost broke her very first bone in Lubbock, and two, because her cry for help sounded a whole lot more like “haaaayyyuuullpp”.

I found out I had cancer in Lubbock. I taught school and fell in love with a group of amazing kids in Lubbock. I, and I normally don’t do this, I made friends in Lubbock.

My son was born in Lubbock. I prayed for him here. I wished and begged for him here. And with the help of an amazing doctor, we brought him here.

My son is from Lubbock.

When we landed this year, after weeks on the road, drained both physically and emotionally—they clapped. As the bus carrying our guys pulled away from the airport, people stopped rolling their suitcases and cheered. They pulled over on the highway and got out of their cars. They came out of their offices and stood in the beds of their trucks. They threw up their hands—thumbs and index fingers.

That is so Lubbock.

I know Lubbock is just supposed to be a city like any other to us. A stop in this nomadic lifestyle we’ve chosen. But driving away, watching it slip into the distance, it sure feels like we’re leaving something special behind. A place where people care about something much bigger than themselves. A place where people take care of one another and are willing to go out of their way to help. A place with good bar-b-que, a hell of an athletic program, and impeccable manners. A place out in the middle of nowhere that could only exist because of the people who believe it should.

Coaches leave.

But I wonder if it’ll feel this way again? If I’ll miss my daughter’s school, or our doctors, or my students this much again? I’m sure I will, won’t I? This is just the nature of what we do. Really, it’s a blessing that it feels this hard.

It means we were happy here.

It means we loved it here.

It means, that for a little, but important while—Lubbock was home.

Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, and Texan living in Tennessee with her husband and two children. Liza graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in chemistry and is the proudest member of the class of 2007.

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