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Father's Day - The Kreigers

June 20, 2004|By MARK KELLER

Fred Kreiger gave up coaching baseball at Boonsboro High School in 2003 so that he could attend more of his kids' youth league games in the spring.

Little did he realize that in his effort to become more of a dad, he would find out what it's like to be a mom, too.

"People have asked me if I miss (coaching). I haven't had much time to miss it," Kreiger said. "There's not time to think about other stuff, just getting the kids from one place to another.

"That's actually become more my lot now."

And though that's been different for Kreiger's son Fred, 16, and daughter Caroline, 13, it's been mostly a good thing that their father is around to take care of those "motherly" tasks.

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Mostly.

"He always makes me late," Caroline said. "I'm always ready to go, but whenever he takes me, I'm late."

Tardiness aside, the kids not only get to see their father more in the spring since he gave up his head coaching job, they get to see him in a different light.

"I found out that he can cook a little bit," young Fred said. "I never knew that."

Beginning in 1974, Kreiger held a variety of coaching jobs, culminating in his accepting the Boonsboro job in 1988.

However, family soon followed with the birth of his son and Kreiger said he knew one day he would have to put his love of coaching on the back burner.

"Even when I was coaching, I got to most of their games," Kreiger said. "But with the number of teams they're on, it became apparent all there was to do was to give it up. It was like a big billboard saying, 'This is the time.'"

It appears the time was just right, for both the father and his children, because time is something none of the three has a lot of this time of year.

Caroline plays for teams at Hagerstown PONY League and the Washington County Girls Softball League, while her brother plays at Hagerstown Colt League and Maugansville Senior League. Fred, who will be a junior at North Hagerstown in the fall, also split time between the Hubs' JV and varsity teams this season.

On a recent Sunday, Fred had 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. games at Colt League, while Caroline had softball games at 2 and 3:30 before a PONY game at 6.

And father Fred did everything he could to make it to each game while still feeding his love of coaching.

He helped out in a "very unofficial" capacity at North this year, serves as an assistant with Fred's Colt League team and works with some of the pitchers on Caroline's PONY team.

"It makes me feel special," Caroline said. "It's a comfort knowing that he's there and he'll help me with any difficulties I'm having."

Young Fred said that even though his father can be tougher on him than other players, he knows it's all for the best.

"It helps a lot in the long run, having Dad looking at every play," Fred said. "It's not hurting, it's helping."

He said the advice comes from Dad on off-the-field issues, too - "things like tucking in my shirt before I get out of the car."

"He seems a lot more like Mom now," Fred said. "It's pretty scary."

Caroline said it sometimes seems like her brother still gets more of their father's attention, but it doesn't change the special relationship she has with her dad.

"Oh, I'm so Daddy's little girl. I always will be," Caroline said. "I can be a brat sometimes, but I'm still his little princess."

And that's enough to make the former coach feel like a king.

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