Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My baseball life part three...Year two..we work the plan

After year one I stepped away from baseball, even though I had already been asked to be on the board and I was ready to be more involved. However, at the time I had a full plate. I had my career which was banging, I was going to school to learn how to host radio show/podcasts and  I was already doing one podcast a week at the time. I was also trying to get out of a failed marriage and not going about that in the most constructive ways possible. So I have a lot on my plate, not to mention my kid was going into first grade and all of that normal every day problems of life.

So after year one I took some time off from baseball. It was already in my system I was already hooked on it, but I had a lot going on that fall and I wanted my kid to play for a team that I didn't coach and learn some skills that way so he played fall ball that year at the YMCA.I am not sure if my league had fall ball that year but we did in year two and it would be another key component of my baseball life.

The biggest thing about year two is I decided I needed to step up my game and work on keeping my kids in the game. In year one way too many kids were in the dirt, or looking at the clouds. I decided that even at this level my parents were gonna get their monies worth, and my kid being one of them in the dirt and looking at the clouds was going to pay attention...if nothing else. It was also In year two that we added the rest of the core of my baseball family. My baseball mom's who now I cannot imagine life without, and am so happy they gave me the honor of coaching their children.

I will never forget the day Caryn signed her kids up, and not that I knew then what role she would play not only in my baseball life, but in my real life as well...she was the second domino that fell. Once she was on the team and her kids were with us things really started to come together. I'm not going to lie my team in year two was not the best team I have ever coached but it was my favorite by far.

I guess it felt like I had all the pieces in place. I had a core group of five or six kids and I knew then that we would be together for at least the next few years. I was very excited at the raw talent of this team and my and my coaches went to work polishing that talent into something awesome. After fall ball that year we would see the fruit of that labor start to blossom in year three.

This team will always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe because we were the Mudhens, maybe because I had extended my baseball family, maybe cause I had a lot of parents around that really got it, or maybe just because I felt like I knew what I was doing in year two.

I knew I was doing a good job because one of my kids was sick, and he didn't play in one of the games and I think it was later on in the season. I was concerned because I didn't hear about it till last minute. But his mother brought the team snacks anyways and walked up to me and said 'we couldn't let the team down.' It was in that moment that I realized the team was more important that any of the things we were doing on the field that at this age and skill level that is the lesson I want to teach my kids. It is a core of my coaching philosophy now, team first, team above all else, win lose or draw we are a team.

I think it was at the start of year two where I started to not only be a baseball coach but a positive male influence in the lives of all my kids. That is a very important role, and I take it very seriously. I was lucky enough to have a man, who had no moral or legal obligation, step up and be a father figure to me when I had no other. It is a lesson that has stuck with me all these years and it is at the core of how I parent my child and coach all of my kids.

Year two was also special because of Justice. Justice was a classmate of my son's and she lived four doors down from us at the time. Really she lived in my house and I wanted to adopt her because her home life was something far short of what it should have been. That entire summer she played ball with us, lived at my place and touched not only my soul but even the soul of my soon to be ex wife.

Year two was also memorable because by the time practices started both I and my soon to be ex wife were dating other people. For spring ball I was dating this crazy girl Michelle. The sweetest nicest thing about her was that she wanted to be a part of it all, but couldn't be because of the situation we were in and stupid geography. It may not sound like it was serious but it kinda was. One of our games got cancelled due to weather and all the parents went to the bar instead and it was there that I told Caryn my marriage was over and that I was gonna leave for Michelle. Her reaction to that was what are you completely retarded?? She then explained that Michelle was just a fantasy and for the most part she was right,. However, the door had been opened and by the time fall ball rolled around there was Lea.

I was now hooked, baseball was a part of my life, and it was an awesome feeling as my real life crumbled to dust in the background.

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