By Cassidy Dover: "Knowledge Is Power"
As I had told you, I had one semester left of school, Ray had two years. We had both grown up in families that believed in education. We both knew we wanted to finish college. Ray would be the first in his family to graduate from college and that was important to him.
In May I pre-registered for my classes. I called Ray and told him that he should probably do the same. Yes, he’d miss the first few weeks of school, but I was sure he could catch up.
He told me to go and ahead and call the school and ask to speak to an advisor about which classes were being offered and were needed to complete his major.
I called the school. I explained that I was Ray’s wife and he had asked me to call. The registrar said to me, “While I am happy for you both that you are married, do you have a power of attorney or notarized letter saying we can talk to you about Ray’s education?”
“No, but I can send a copy of marriage certificate if that will help,” I responded naively.
“Again, unless we have a notarized letter from Mr. Dover or a power of attorney saying you have legal rights to inquire and make these decisions for him, neither you nor I are able to do anything right now.”
Wow. I had never felt so insignificant in my life . Here I am, almost 21 and married, and I can’t do anything for my husband to help out with getting him registered for school.
I called Ray. “Hi. I called your school. They won’t talk to me. They said I need some notarized paper or something. You’ll have to do this.”
“Cassidy, I can’t. I’m pitching tomorrow. There are some moves being made up above. If I do well I could get moved up to AA. I need to focus. Just call Ken. He’ll be able to help you.”
Ken is Ray’s agent. I had never spoken to Ken except if he came by to take Ray and I out to dinner. But to initiate that call. Yikes!
I remember making that call. I was so anxious. I didn’t know if he would even talk to me. "Hi Cassidy! How are you? What can I help you out with?”
“Well, I called to get Ray registered in school…” and I told him the entire story in one long breath.
“No problem. I can register him. I’ll talk to his advisor and get things in order. Also, have you guys gotten loans to pay for the rest of college? Ray lost his scholarship when he signed last year.”
I hadn’t even considered that! I also hadn’t really thought my parents may not be willing to help me pay for the final year of school.
“I’ll talk to my parents. They’ll know where we can do all that stuff. Thanks for thinking of that for us!”
“Just call if you need anything else! That’s my job.”
I remember walking into the kitchen and talking to my mom. I remember her taking me to the bank and talking with a loan officer (do they even have those now?). He looked at me and asked for my husband’s contract, his pay stubs, my pay stubs, etc. I called Ray that night. Again I was told to call his agent, he’d have all that stuff. Ray didn’t know where it all was. I was young and unorganized. Now I have it all in one place and I can produce any and all contracts, insurance papers, receipts, etc. on a moments notice. Back then I couldn’t have done a thing. So again, I called Ken.
“Cassidy, what do you need?” he asked. He was always so nice to me! He quickly faxed the information over for us and we were offered a loan to repay after we finished school as Ray was already working.
In my mind Ray would be in the big leagues very soon, making hundreds of thousands of dollars and this little loan would be very easy to pay off. Plus, with 4 semesters left of school our loan wouldn’t need to be prepaid for 4 more years, right?
What I failed to realize was that 1.) Ray would be leaving school each year in January. This would entail paperwork with the bank to show this was a leave of absence and we’d have to preregister him and show his intent to re enroll the following fall semester not to be asked to begin loan repayment and 2.) Ray would not be making hundreds of thousands of dollars in the next 4 years. We would even have added more expenditures to our life and this loan would be another monthly payment added to a plethora of monthly payments that begin to occur in life as you get older and move to new phases of life.
I called Ray back and told him that Ken had enrolled him in school and helped me to get our loan to pay for college. My parents had been amazing, once again, and said that they’d pay for my final semester so I could have my bachelor’s in December. Things were looking up.
Then he said the words that I guess I had never thought in my mind to that point. “Thank goodness I have an agent. We wouldn’t be able to get anything done in the season without him, would we?”
I began to think how right he was. Ray’s agent seemed to hold the key to do things in Ray’s life that I, as his wife, couldn’t do. His agent understood just how to encourage him in baseball. He knew how to “get things done” in the world outside baseball. He had the legal ability to do things for Ray and I as well.
Ray’s agent was our extended family. His agent, as time has gone by, has been that go to guy. He, in a way, is a parent, a partner in our business, a friend, a confidant. His agent’s opinion may hold more weight than my own when making decisions about Ray’s career (which I’m not going to lie, can be very difficult to handle when these are decisions that directly affect that family future, but I digress). At the end of the day, Ray’s agent serves a role that is difficult to describe, but for us, impossible to live without in our lives.
While we may have had challenges in those years that Ray and I finished college, there is no other way we would have done it. As we each took our turn graduating from college, we were giving ourselves so much more than debt. Graduating from college gives Ray and I the freedom for him to continue to play baseball at this “bubble” level for as long as he has. We both are capable of having other jobs after baseball is over. Our future is strong and bright.
As Ray received his diploma, the pride on his parents’ faces was even brighter than that when we all sat at Ray’s first Big League Game. This accomplishment, in their minds, was less than likely than him ever making it to the big leagues.
Ray makes sure he is always the player at that goes to speak to kids in school about staying in school. He tells the students about the opportunities that only an education can allow you.
Knowledge is Power. Unlike your time in baseball, no one can take that Knowledge away from you, ever.
Thanks for reading.
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. To read more of her columns, just click HERE. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.