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I guess I am writing this for a couple of reasons but the number one is that I have four boys that excel at baseball and love it. I coached high school baseball for the past 14 years and in that time I gain the respect of all my fellow coaches and all my former players. I never had an issue with any of them and always had a successful season not matter the talent I was given. Anyone that knows anything about high school baseball knows that this is where the funnels affect starts. The game of baseball will start to tell some boys that they can not play any more because of various reasons. I remember may times when we would have tryouts when there was snow on the ground and would try and gauge the players ability and who needed a lot of work. I loved breaking down all the players mechanics and trying my best to help them fix some horrible mechanics in their throwing, catching, fielding, running, bunting and hitting. I enjoyed seeing my boys become starters over the other coaches players and loved seeing them lead the team come their Junior and Senior year. During that time I would take my two oldest boys who would run all the drills and play catch with the boys on the team. This would get them so excited and they loved that the boys on the team would accept them. I had the opportunity to coach and amazing group of young men. From my 1st ever team (11-9) to my last team this past year I had a blast and most of the players still keep in contact and have helped me get this project started.
I have to call it a project because there is so much work and there are so many people that you will never please because they think you are trying to show them up. We recently moved to this community and after spending a horrible season watching my son play for a coach that had them take lead offs while crossing their feet. I knew I could not sit back and let someone that had never coached passed an in house all star team continue to try and teach my son. I know the limitations that my son has and know that he will be as good as he wants to be. My younger son only 8 at the time was already better than his older brother. He said something that made my decision to step away from coaching high school and the competitive nature that it brings out in me an easy one. He saw one of my good players during our last baseball game and after the game said "Dad can you help me be as good as him, I want to be that good so that I can play with Nick". After he said that I knew that I had only one thing to do and that was to resign at the high school I had been coaching for such a long time. For anyone that has coached any sport at a high school they will know that giving up a coaching position many times means that if you ever want to coach again you may have to coach free for a while even if you are more qualified. Now our district does not tend to hire may minority coaches and the pay was better than some other places but it was a decision I was willing to make.
I was thinking that it would be easy since I had the coaching experience, the winning record and the respect of all the coaches in my league. That is where it all stopped and it became complicated. I 1st approached the local high school coaching about starting a feeder program much the same as the one that fed our school with decent ball players. I found that the coach was not interested in taking on any more responsibilities from what I was told he was there to collect a paycheck. I then approached the local little league as the travel team we came from had a connection with the little league. The little league was not really interested unless you showed them the money they did not care about putting a good product on the field but care about number of players. Many of the players that were really good ended up traveling long distances to play in our travel leagues. It frustrated me when I saw this and tried to explain my goals to narrow minded people that could not throw a baseball the correct way if their life depended on it. They reminded me of the Volkswagen commercial where the dads is trying to teach the son how to throw a baseball and he looked like he was shot putting it. It was frustrating and I knew I had to research as much as I could about the fields and the league. Eventually because of their doing we were able to iron out an agreement with the village. We have a 12 player team and have been contacted about adding additional age groups.
I talked to one guy that was amazing on paper and had all the qualifications or so you would think till I asked him to organize a practice and cover three basic things: lead-offs, rundowns and relays to 2nd base. That is where it all hit the fan and I knew this would be more difficult than I was thinking when I started the whole process. I came up with the following idea. All the teams and age groups would practice at the same time and would register for the same tournaments as we had a couple of siblings that would end up playing on different teams next year. I talked to all the other coaches that were interested and they all agreed this would be a good idea. As of right now we will add an additional two teams or 24 more players. Our organizations number one goal is to develop players and create a feeder program for the high school. Its been really hard trying to get advice and having all these other leagues contact me about playing in their tournaments. I think they think we will be an easy win but we are hoping to surprise some people and get our name out there. This process would have been easy if not for those out there that are not in it for the kids but are trying to live our their baseball past using their own sons. I know it will pay off and know that my boys will get better just wondering why its so hard when someone is trying to do the right thing.
I guess time will tell but I was hoping if you read this you could tell me what drives you and your team each year.