Outside the Office: Chris Anders
Berry Digital Solutions is proud to be made up of a team of people that not only bring passion to their jobs but have passion for their lives. In this new blog series, we want to highlight our team members and what they currently are doing outside of the office that keeps them motivated and inspired. First up is Chris Anders, one of the founders of Berry Digital Solutions, and the guy behind the scenes keeping everything running smoothly. Read what he has to say about coaching his sons below:
When I’m not sitting behind a computer for Berry Digital Solutions, you’ll probably find me running a local baseball, basketball, or soccer practice. My boys are 6 and 8 years old and already love sports as much as I do. The Super Bowl, March Madness, Opening Day, and National Championship Games are all important dates on our family calendar that we plan for and schedule around.
A major milestone in our family was the moment my boys were old enough to join youth sports leagues and begin playing the sports they love with their friends and peers. Initially, I had no intentions of coaching their teams. I figured they’d heard all of my “coaching” at home and were growing tired of my voice. I would remain on the sidelines as a supportive dad and let a new voice teach them some new things. But it didn’t take long to realize how much these local sports leagues needed volunteers. Practices couldn’t get started without coaches, and the pool of volunteers was so low that a couple of times, our seasons were delayed because no one was available to coach the teams.
As the co-owner of Berry Digital Solutions, I can make my work schedule pretty flexible, and I had a background in athletic administration, so it started to feel irresponsible of me not to volunteer. I took the plunge when a shorthanded friend of mine asked me to help him out with my son’s T-ball team. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to command the attention of a dozen preschoolers. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable behind a keyboard, and if you don’t bring the energy and passion every time with a group of 5-year-olds, it can flop pretty quickly. (Shoutout to my mom and dad who, even after a combined 6 decades of elementary school teaching, continue going to work every day to do it again and again and again. I have no idea how you do it. I’m completely exhausted after 1 hour of practice with 10 kids. My dad actually taught class all day long, and then chose to coach for another 2-3 hours each night in multiple sports throughout the school year. It was normal to me when I was kid, but now it seems certifiably insane to do that for almost 40 straight years.)
Since I started coaching, my head is constantly filled with practice ideas, funny things the kids say or funny things I can say to them at the next practice. I want them to look forward to the next game or practice as much as I do. The world is a crazy place full or stress and anxiety, so I try my best to create a practice environment where all of those stressors disappear, and we just get to have fun playing sports and joking around with our friends for an hour or two.
My favorite part of coaching is seeing how far the kids grow each season, from that first practice when everyone’s shy and maybe never even played the sport they’re signed up for, and by the end of the year they’re getting hits every game or scoring goals and everyone’s so excited it’s difficult to get a word in with all of the conversations happening between new friends.
The pictures I shared are from my WL-S T-Ball and Coach Pitch teams this season. At the start of May (on my birthday to boot!), my Coach Pitch team went on a magical run in the Logan County Preseason Tournament. We eventually fell in the Championship Game, but I swear, no team had more fun and more smiles that day than the West Liberty Lions Club. Even after losing, our kids were on Cloud 9 and you can really tell in those team photos. No matter where I end up on this coaching journey with my boys, I’ll always cherish these smiles and memories, and I can’t believe that I once made up my mind that I wasn’t going to get involved and coach my boys’ teams.