|Posted on May 10, 2015 at 8:15 AM|
(All opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author. In no way does this reflect the opinions of members of the Tri-C Youth Athletic Board or any others affiliated with the program.)
Even though rain prevented our opening day of the Tri-C season from being, what would qualify as, a success, it was good to see a number of old friends Saturday morning. Some familiar faces that this writer had not seen in a few years were back at James Street with their own children or grandchildren to enjoy the first games (well, maybe only an inning).
My unofficial count was thirty-three young adults who had grown up playing ball in our baseball/softball leagues. Eight of which had played on teams that I had coached. These people were there with their own children in hopes that the younger generation will experience the same joy that had been a part of their upbringing.
The season of course is young and only eight of our 53 teams set foot on the field for an initial game. It gives one a great feeling to know that many more of those familiar faces will be present in the coming weeks.
It goes without saying that our program is one of the few that has not only withstood changes in a modern society, but has shown a proper path that others respect. It is not an accident that we have been successful. A proven formula that has been in place for years makes the transition from season to season. Change is a good thing, but one should always remember things that make you strong and your core principles.
Tri-C has long been another family to me. The importance of the program cannot be understated. Not only is it a family event, but one that embodies the best of what a community should be.
As we begin a new season, it is my sincere wish that all the participants, all the coaches, and all those watching the games find a joy and comfort that Tri-C Youth Athletics is bringing a quality program for our area.
Twenty-seven seasons ago, when I first coached in Tri-C, I composed the following note with each of my parents at one of the first practices of every baseball or softball team that I coached.
1. Be involved.
2. Be positive.
3. Communicate with the coach.
4. Go to games, but sit back, watch, cheer.
5. Don’t coach your child during games.
6. Remember: Players are participating to learn, not to win.
7. Ask “Did you have fun, did you try?” not “How did you do, did you win?”
8. Make baseball (softball) a family event.
9. Ask yourself, “Did I have fun?” If you didn’t, your child didn’t.
10. Educate yourself on baseball (softball) as quickly as your child.
11. Spend 20 minutes a day, three days a week, working with your child on baseball (softball).
In case you never read the bottom of my weekly offering, I will also share with you what I always told my players.
Hustle, and always
Use your “noodle.”
Best wishes to all for a great season!
Mother’s Day has always been a special event for me. To say I was blessed, by being fortunate to have my parents, does not fully do the statement justice. It doesn’t matter to me if it sounds corny, but I loved my mother very much. She was not only a product “The Greatest Generation”, but could easily been a chapter in that book.
That generation lived through the great depression and World War II. They understood what it meant to sacrifice; they understood the importance of self-reliance, but also the need for our government to help those who were less able to do so for themselves. They were people who shared with their neighbors and total strangers and built our nation to be the premier leader on this planet.
My mother could put in more work in a day than all four of her children put together. She loved flowers, and grew a larger vegetable garden, every year, than one could imagine. She possessed a great sense of humor. I never remember a day that she did not laugh out loud. Mostly she loved her children and made great sacrifices for them. She also loved sports, particularly baseball, and was always in attendance when her children played. In case you do not realize it by now-----she was truly a special human being and anyone who knew her would say the same.
My wife, also, embodies that same type of spirit and drive of my mother’s. She, likewise, made sacrifices for her four children and is not only a person I love, but one I respect. Martha was a stay at home mom, for a period of time, after each of our children was born. This obviously put us at times of financial stress, but that sacrifice was worth it in the long run. In her 50s she was able to complete a master’s degree and still spend time caring for her family, while maintaining a full time job.
It is obvious that I am not the only person who has been fortunate with having a great mother and mother of my children. Many of you reading this must feel the same way about your parents.
One of my joys in my association with Tri-C Youth Athletics has been meeting some superior parents of the feminine gender. As an observer of people, it is safe for me to say our community abounds with some special women.
Loving and nurturing people are the ones that make a society great. Every time that I am at James Street Park I see the type of people who have, just by their nature, been ones who have my respect.
Please, take time to remember your mothers on this special day and show the love for them that they have shown you.
Our first Pitch, Hit, and Run competition, sponsored by Tri-C Youth Athletics, was held on May 3. It was well received by the players and parents who were present to support them. Even though only 30 youth participated it was a worthwhile and fun afternoon.
The winners in each division are as follows:
Pitch (tie) Spencer Brown and Sam Rausenberger
Pitch-(tie) Jaycie Johnson and Hailee Kosek
Pitch-(tie) Katie Keirn and Kennedy Rushing
Hit-(tie) Katie Keirn and Kennedy Rushing
A big thank-you goes to Board Members Kevin Chapman, Nick Martin, Jason Rausenberger, Rick Stanley and Casey Ward who volunteered. Also, thanks to the other volunteers, Joey Dixon, Rocky Harris, Jeff Johnson, Doug Keirn, and Tom Kosek.
Working together a lot can be accomplished for our children.
Random Thoughts and Obvious Observations and a Few Relevant Questions:
Our community suffered the loss of a brave spirit this past week when Jeanie Sewell Corbell passed away. Jeanie was a graduate of CHS and lived most of her life in the Tri-C area. She and her husband, Doug, had one child, Maureen, who at 10 years old has been involved in Tri-C sports for over five years.
Jeanie was seriously injured in a car accident seven years ago and later was diagnosed with cancer. She was a lover of family and an active member of the Methodist Church.
All of us associated with Tri-C Youth Athletics wanted to extend our sympathies to the Corbell and Sewell family and especially, Maureen.
The recent riots in Baltimore have been upsetting to many across the nation. All of us must agree that looting, stealing, and damaging property is a wrongful act, regardless of our varying political views. One thing that did come from the riots was the fact that the Orioles did not play two home games and played the next one before an empty stadium.
Playing that game cost the Orioles much revenue and many people making lower salaries were affected adversely. However, it made a statement that no amount of disturbance is going to stop all activity in the City of Baltimore. It reminded me of when Franklin Roosevelt was advised by some of his staff, as President during World War II, to halt the play of Major League Games. FDR responded quickly, that our country needed to continue as normal a lifestyle as possible and that baseball was an important part of our country.
I do not mean to imply that the Baltimore riots come close to being comparable to WWII, but do believe by playing to an empty house a statement was made that no negative action of others should interfere with our pursuit of healthy activities. By taking this financial loss and standing up to principle, I am very proud to say that I am an Oriole fan.
The Supreme Court ruled this past week that the State of Illinois had a moral and legal obligation to honor those agreements to those who fall under the State Retirement System. Prior to the decision, this was, to most observers, the only decision that could be rendered by following the State’s Constitution.
It is going to put a cost on the people of the state, but when one incurs debt, it is a responsibility of individuals, governmental agencies, or private corporations to pay what is owed.
For years the legislature supported a plan to not fund the pension systems as required by law. Therefore, it would be my contention that those people who served in Springfield should be the ones to pay off the debt. My recommendation would be that every legislator who voted to under-fund the system would have their own pensions cut until such time that the current crises facing the State is under control.
It will, of course, never happen, but if any politician showed the courage and belief in fairness, not to mention a true concern about Illinois, to support such a bill he or she would have my full support.
Winston Churchill once said “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This quote while being intended to express concern over the potential for war, can very aptly be applied to everyday life. Each of us should take the time to educate ourselves and examine what things have worked and what things have not, relying on those who may have more experience to lend to a situation in order to build for a better future.
Until next time,
Hustle, and always
Use your “noodle.”