Western Springs dad is a jack of all trades
Jack Grace helps his son Jack warm up on the pitcher's mound. Jack Grace has coached his son in baseball for the last seven years. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: July 15, 2012 6:09AM
Jack Grace of Western Springs is a Jack of all trades. Commodities trader by day, athletic coach by night and family man always.
Grace and his wife, Mary Carol, have three children, Mary Rita, Maggie and Jack, and a Bernese mountain dog, Paul “Paulie” Konerko.
Growing up, Grace played baseball, basketball, football and golf. His love for sports has stuck with him throughout his life. Eight years ago, Grace was asked to coach his daughter’s fifth-grade basketball team at St. Cletus, and has been coaching ever since.
For the past five years, Grace has coached his son Jack’s football team, and for the past seven years has coached Jack’s various baseball teams.
“I’ve always enjoyed coaching my kids. Just to see the joy on their faces when the team succeeds makes it all worthwhile,” says Grace.
In the summertime, Grace has to commute back and forth from his family’s summer home in Michigan in order to coach in Western Springs. A somewhat hectic idea to many, seems to be a rather stress free situation to Grace.
“It’s just over an hour, so it’s not too bad. Besides, baseball has always been my favorite sport. I sometimes think I enjoy the game more than the kids who are playing,” says Grace.
He understands people have to make sacrifices, and in the end he believes all the sacrifices he’s made have been worthwhile.
“Sacrifices are a part of life, although my golf game has suffered from some of those sacrifices,” he jokes.
St. John of the Cross is excited to welcome a football team to their school this year! Grace will be the assistant coach for the new football team this year at St. John of the Cross. He thinks the team “will create a lot of energy and school spirit, which you can never have enough of.”
There will be a two-week mini camp in July, and regular practice begins Aug. 6. Grace is eager to get started and believes the team has a lot of potential to succeed.
Grace has had plenty of experience coaching and he has coached a multitude of sports and age groups.
“As long as the kids learn something, are competitive and have fun, every season is great,” he says.
Often it can be a struggle to coach your own kids, with concerns about playing time and fairness. However, Grace says he never experiencs a problem coaching his own children.
“I feel that I’ve always been fair with playing time. If a player practices hard, and listens . . . he’ll play,” he says. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s boys or girls, if a kid listens and tries their hardest it makes your job a lot easier.”
Grace feels coaching has deepend his relationship with his children. Parents must show interest in things that their children love, no matter what it may be.
“My son Jack and I are out in the yard almost daily throwing the baseball around, or in the back yard shooting baskets. I did the same with my girls when they were growing up. And yes, I love doing it. It makes me feel like a kid again,” says Grace.
He also enjoys working with other kids, and that has led to one of his favorite Father’s Day memories.
“I always love getting the home made cards from the kids,” he says. “Seeing all the hard work they put into them was great. I have quite a collection!”