Tuesday, May 13, 2014
When you see Berkeley coach Landy Cox and assistant coach Con Salisbury at Jim Bradley Field, they sometimes look like they’re married to the game of baseball.
But their real wives are never far away.
With Salisbury, his son Dillon has been a three-year starter at second base and his wife Tracy (and Dillon’s mother) can usually be found in the concession stand behind home plate.
But with Landy Cox, upon realizing the two little redheads running around the diamond after games, Courtlyn and Landyn, belong to him, you start searching the grandstands for their mother.
And it doesn’t take long to find her.
She’s sitting right there, in the first seat, next to the dugout.
“She is the most amazing person I know,” Landy Cox said of his wife. “She has raised two young kids while I’m out here all the time, and on top of doing all that, she teaches and excels at her job.
“She’s just amazing.”
Lori Cox was named Timberland High School’s 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year earlier this year and doesn’t make much of a fuss teaching for the Stags’ rival.
“Students know I bleed Berkeley blue even though I teach at Timberland,” she said. “My Timberland students always ask me, ‘Mrs. Cox, who are you pulling for?’ in reference to Timberland and Berkeley games. They do laugh at me because they know my husband coaches there.
“My answer is always ‘I’m am going to pull for my students but I am also pulling for my husband because that is his livelihood and what puts bread on our table.’ I pull for my Timberland students, even when we play them in baseball. I do cheer for those kids because I want to see them do well.”
Lori never strays far from the first base dugout, except to chase down Landyn, and near her husband is where she stays.
“It is nice to be close to him, however, I’m like a ball of nerves sitting there and when he wears his emotion on his sleeve, I do the same.”
The parents understand when it comes to Cox’s coaching style and their kids. No one takes anything personally. Cox expects execution. Every time.
“At least the parents do not hear him fussing nor does he hear them fussing,” Lori said. “Karen Gainey and I have a running joke about the ‘many faces of Landy Cox.’ One second he is smiling, the next he is shaking his head with a sarcastic grin on his face. I can read him like a book.”
Lori Cox is a quiet and unassuming person, self-admittedly shy, but don’t mistake her quiet nature for an absence of passion in supporting the team.
“I show my support by being there and screaming at the top of my lungs for the team. Those boys feed off of the energy of the crowd and if the crowd is dead, then we wives try to get loud and put out some energy. Half the time I leave a ball game feeling like I have been run over by a train. The games get so intense.”
She is quick to point out not to misinterpret her husband’s intensity on the sidelines.
“These parents have absolutely no idea how much Landy cares about this group of kids. They probably think he hates their kids the way he rides them, but I’ve seen him get very emotional over the fact that he is losing some this year, and if it is any consolation, he would give every last one of them the shirt off his back.”
For Tracy Salisbury, she has watched her kids grow up on the diamond and wouldn’t be anywhere else but here. This is where her friends are and this is her life.
“I really enjoy watching Dillon playing baseball at this level,” she said. “It is definitely stressful at times. Dillon has been playing baseball since he was fours years old, so I have seen him play many games and have enjoyed them all from T-ball to Rec Ball, travel ball and now Berkeley baseball.
One thing Tracy has learned over the years is that there is so much more to baseball than just hitting, catching and throwing. There is a mental side of the game and like any mom, she gets nervous for her son.
“When your son is out there on the field, as a mom you just want him to do his best and make the big plays. When he does make the big plays, I just thank the Lord for giving him the ability to be able to know what to do.”
Tracy’s daughter Katie forged her own path, passing on softball after one season to take up gymnastics.
Both mom and dad support her on the mat, just as they do Dillon on the field.
“Katie has found her activity that she really enjoys. When she has had practice and meets, they have been on different nights from the baseball games, so Con and I have been able to be there for both of our children’s activities. I joke because Katie was almost born at the ball field. She enjoys going to watch her brother and going on the field after the game. We are a close family and enjoy being there for each other.”
For Lori Cox the baseball diamond has been a virtual nursery for her two kids.
“My children cut their teeth on a baseball glove,” she said. “I had Courtlyn at her first baseball game when she was one month old, and we didn’t miss a game. The same thing with Landyn.
“Football too ... we didn’t miss many games over the course of 10 seasons. Berkeley sports is in our blood, it is who we are.”
The Coxes are on the run from before sunrise to long after the sun has set.
“The average family would never believe our schedule,” she said, “Just to give you an idea: on a normal day...6:30 we get up and rush like mad men to get dressed, children fed, lunch packed and out the door by 7:15. Landy takes Courtlyn, I take Landyn. Landy picks Courtlyn up at 12:50 and rushes back to school to be there for his next block class. She does her homework in his office. Then at 4, she goes with her dad to the ball field.
“On my way home, I get Landyn then swing by and get Courtlyn - it’s 5 o’clock by this time. Sometimes, we will stay and watch practice because Landyn is begging to play baseball with daddy. We usually do not eat until Landy gets home, which is usually around 7:30 p.m. Bathe kids, ourselves, and then that is a good day, especially if kids are in bed by 9 p.m. Now, I don’t even want to talk about our schedule when Courtlyn has a softball game and Landy a baseball game...lets just say stressful.
“In the end, would I change a thing? Nope, not a thing.”
Tracy Salisbury voices the same sentiment. It’s all about being there with her kids.
“I would never trade this lifestyle for anything else. I enjoy spending time with my children. They grow up so fast and I want to enjoy every moment I can with them.
“I have met so many amazing people during the years of baseball,” she said. “I am thankful and so blessed that God has allowed me this enjoyment in my life.”
Lori Cox said “normal” is relative.
“No way would I ever trade this lifestyle. It’s all I know, it’s all we know. It’s in our blood. It’s what gives us something to look forward to. What is traditional anyway? Sounds boring to me.”