If you ever met Mike Wozniak and asked him “How are you doing?,” he had two potential answers.
With a twinkle in his eye he might say, “Hey, it’s your world – I’m just living in it.” That always brought a smile to my face.
Or he might just say:
That was my favorite. To me it always seemed like Mike lived with an understanding of the wonder of life. I know his faith was the foundation of that understanding. He was a joyful and optimistic man.
I cannot say that he and I were close friends or spent a lot of time together. It was our daughters’ softball pursuits that introduced us many years ago, and it was softball that always seemed to keep us connected. Mike was a great teacher and communicator. He most certainly loved fastpitch softball, but what he really loved was helping young women learn to play the game.
The last time I had coffee with him was on July 6, 2015. We talked about his daughter, Stefanie, and the rest of his family. We talked about my daughter, Kellen, and the rest of my family. He gave me an update on JoJo, another of Stefanie and Kellen’s teammates. He was so excited about having the opportunity to be the head softball coach at Hendrickson High School. He also spoke of his love for classroom teaching, especially personal finance.
Mike was the kind of person you want coaching your daughter, and he was the kind of teacher you want teaching your son or daughter. Those players and students who drew him got a blessing. He coached and taught with the joy that sprang from his view of this amazing gift called life.
That day in July 2015 that we got together, I gave Mike a signed copy of my book. He was grateful. Later that day he and I followed up with emails. Ever the encourager, Mike wrote:
It was great to catch up, and I am very proud of your accomplishments to date. Thank you for the book……..I look forward to reading it this summer.
I’m not sure if he ever got around to reading it, but it does not matter. Mike was a man who had already written a beautiful story in his life. His future was well planned for, and he thought of it as great adventure.
I’m sure if I could ask him right now, “Mike, how are you doing?,” his response would be:
On behalf of Kellen, Matthew, and Margot, I extend our love, thoughts, and prayers to the Wozniak family and all those who have been impacted by a life well lived. May we continue to learn many lessons from Coach Mike.
I will miss you, my friend.