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The Best Of John's Journal From 2020-21/ No. 1: The Coach, The Baby And A Wild Delivery

Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 1:31 PM

What a ride. The 2020-21 school year was remarkable and memorable for lots of reasons, with many of them shaded by the Covid-19 pandemic. But the No. 1 John’s Journal story from 2020-21 has nothing to do with the virus and everything to do with family.

I initially learned about what happened when I checked my email on the morning of June 9 and saw this…


Yesterday our Sb coach just coached 2 games in the section tournament and gave birth to her 4th child 15 minutes later on the road. Delivered by her assistant coach. Call me if you want details!!!

Joe Kemp

Joe is the activities director at Wabasso High School. I’ve known him for a long time and you betcha I called him immediately.

Upon learning about what happened with Wabasso softball coach Tiffany Eichten after her team’s season came to an end – and even before interviewing the people involved -- I knew this story was very special and just might be my favorite story of the year. And that’s where it is, right at the top of my list.

I often tell people that the best sports stories are not about winning and losing but about the people involved. This is a great example of that philosophy, with a very pregnant coach giving birth in the back of the family’car, with her assistant coach (an obstetrics nurse!) assisting as her husband drove to the closest hospital.

Here’s an excerpt …

Eichten and assistant coach Andrea Ellanson have been leading the Wabasso softball program for seven years and know each other well. As the day went along, Ellanson kept an eye on Eichten. Tiffany confirmed to her that contractions had begun.

“In the fourth or fifth inning of the second game I looked at her coaching third base and I knew something was not right over there,” Ellanson said. “She came into the dugout and I said, ‘How far apart are your contractions? Five, 10 minutes?’ She said, ‘Probably five.’ I asked her if she needed to go and she said, ‘No. I’m fine.’ ”

Tiffany didn’t want to leave her team on such a crucial day, worrying that the players might not be able to focus if she suddenly departed.

During the seventh inning Ellanson sent a text to Tiffany’s husband, Christopher, who was at the game. She told him his wife was in labor and he needed to be ready to get her to the hospital as soon as possible once the game ended.

The email from Joe arrived at 9:17 a.m. Soon after that I chatted with Joe on the phone, and then talked with Tiffany, Andrea and Christopher. The story was posted that day at 4:04 p.m.; doing the interviewing and writing was pure joy.

It’s one of the most remarkable stories I have ever heard and it was my great fortune to be able to write it.

Click here to read story:…


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