As a coach, it’s already a big success to lead your team to a national silver medal.
It’s an even bigger one to do so when you have to coach your players entirely over FaceTime from a hospital bed.
And that’s exactly what Gail Klock did.
Klock coaches the Colorado Peaches — a senior women’s softball team made up of players 70 and older. Klock had cancer surgery earlier this month and is still in the hospital recovering. So, she wasn’t able to physically be there when the Peaches played in the National Senior Games last weekend in Albuquerque and took home a silver medal.
“I was hoping to be there playing and coaching but was not able to come,” Klock said from her hospital bed in Denver on Monday, June 24. “But they FaceTimed me and I got to see the games and help coach, and it was fantastic.”
Klock had a visitor that day in the hospital: 88-year-old Maggie McCloskey, who plays second base for the Peaches.
“You know it was just like Gail was there,” McCloskey said. “I just think that Gail has such a way of connecting with each individual on the team.”
McCloskey was there to pick up the plans for the next day’s practice, something Klock is still running from the hospital. Klock walked her through the warm-ups, stretches and drills she wanted the team to work on.
The Peaches have been around since the ‘90s, competing in many tournaments and winning a handful of medals over the years. But McCloskey said this year’s win is especially remarkable when you consider the competition.
“Every time we go to a tournament, we play younger players,” she said. “So when we win a game, it’s really wonderful.”
Usually players on the other teams are closer to the 70-year age mark, while many of the Peaches are in their late-70’s or even 80’s. Despite the age gap, the team still managed to take the silver home.
“It took me longer to find out then I wanted it to!” Klock said with a laugh. “I think I found out about a half an hour afterwards. And it was very, very thrilling to find that out, to know how well they’d done.”
As soon as the Peaches were back from New Mexico, they headed to the hospital, silver medal and team photo in tow for Klock.
“It made my days here so much easier,” she said. “To have a focus, to feel like you can contribute. I know as a result of this surgery I’ll never play again but I know I can always coach and to have that, you can’t put it in words what it means.”