|Posted on May 19, 2015 at 7:25 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.)
We all face many changes in our lives. Some are more subtle and others are more pronounced. Most changes can and should be positive. It is how we address and face those changes that make the difference.
Rarely, is there a greater change than the graduation of one from high school. It marks the beginning of facing a greater amount of responsibilities and looked upon as an adult in the legal sense.
Many of those who recently graduated from Carterville High School will be going on to college, some have chosen to go into the military, and others will test some skills they may possess, to join an ever-changing job market. Whatever the choice that they make their lives will never, exactly, be the same. Challenging? Yes, of course, but an ability to rely on those lessons that the school and community have afforded them and with the right guidance, in the future, they will meet that challenge.
It is with a great deal of pride that I share with you that the majority of the graduates are people that I have known since they were in Kindergarten and some before that. Of the 107 who walked across the stage to receive their diploma, Saturday evening, over 80 are former participants in Tri-C Youth Athletics. Eleven of the graduates have worked as officials or concession workers. Thirty-eight of the parents were coaches in our program and six parents were former Tri-C Youth Athletics’ Board Members.
While it is fitting to honor all of the 107 and wish them only the best for the future, it would be wrong of me not to at least mention some of these special young people. Even though my comments will be brief, my positive thoughts of each are much, much bigger.
Hailey Barber was always a terrific girl at the park. Watching Hailey and her brother, Tylor, play ball, while talking to her parents and grandparents was a great experience.
Brayden Bisaillon had as big a heart as the smile he gave to almost everyone he met. His parents, grandparents, and sisters were always his biggest fans.
Dusty Brown was one of the subjects of an Insider about eight years ago. It was about a fun night for the kids and a fun night for at least one of the officials. His parents were great supporters of Tri-C. Look forward to seeing him in Florida next winter.
Dylan Church helped work on the ball fields at James Street. His older brother, Cody, played ball for me one summer and Dylan seemed to always be standing outside the fence watching.
Michael Dennison and his parents attended church with my family. His mother was the most reliable scorekeeper we ever had in basketball. His dad was one of those who coached for Tri-C, particularly in football.
Scarlett DeRousse’s mother, also, coached for us. Scarlett became a decent softball player that year. Her brothers were among some of our very best umpires.
Nick Draper and I first met when I was umpiring and he was catching one night. We enjoyed a conversation and he protected me from injury. Nick has worked in the concession stand and refereed basketball. His dad is a former Tri-C Board Member and keeps his hand in, still, by coaching.
Hunter Emery has been a worker on field preparation at James Street for about three years. Hunter is a friendly young man, just like his parents. He gave his best when he played Tri-C sports. His parents have, both, been active with Tri-C for years. Tina served as a Board Member.
Megan Hampton not only became a very good softball player, but a fine young lady. Her dad was very active in coaching softball for many years.
Shane Kemp, the middle of the three brothers, and always a great young man. Shane worked in the concession stand for three years. His father, David, was a coach for Tri-C and still is helping.
Austyn Kuder enjoyed some memorable times in Tri-C sports. I remember well his reaction when he hit his first home run on Diamond 2. I am sure that he still has that baseball.
Nathan Lieber was one boy who really loved to participate and compete. His winning smile went away during the start of a game as he put on his “game face.” I truly enjoyed officiating games he participated in. He, also, became a good umpire for Tri-C, as was his older brother, Ben.
Teagan Marron while being very quiet, at least in my presence, but was always one to please. I remember her helping her father, John, when he was in charge of girls’ basketball. Teagan was this year’s recipient of the Tri-C Youth Athletic Scholarship.
Draeke Mathews was an umpire for Tri-C for three years. His father, Billy, coached sports for a number of years.
Kylee Rock is currently an umpire for Tri-C and has officiated in basketball the past two seasons. She is soon headed to the U of I to play softball, after a great career at CHS. At the risk of making me myself appear older than I am, Kylee’s grandmother and great aunt were friends of mine in high school.
Dylan Samuel was at every game his older brother, Dalton, played his first year of Shetland. He was always smiling and with a great attitude. His father, Steve, was an assistant with me twice and we had a number of laughs you can be assured. He will be playing football at McKendree next year.
Zane Smith was a young man who always spoke to me, respectfully. He played on my son’s teams in flag football and basketball. His dad, Bill, also coached in Tri-C.
Jake Turner was the standard of hard work in athletics. When Jake was about seven or eight, I told his father, Dan, that I loved to watch Jake play sports. He was a great hustler and gave his all on the field or court. Jake umpired for Tri-C, too.
Blake and Olivia Watson, both, participated in Tri-C sports. Blake was among the best all-around athletes I was fortunate to watch, in Tri-C play. It was a pleasure of mine to coach their older brother, Zach, in baseball and flag football.
Amanda Weihman was an umpire for Tri-C for three years. She always seemed to have a positive outlook and was a good role model for younger girls. Her parents Rob and Michelle, both, coached in Tri-C.
Jacob Wilson was a participant in all Tri-C sports and was, also, an umpire for two years. Both his parents, Keith and Laura served as Tri-C Youth Athletic Board Members.
Erin Wood played Tri-C sports and later worked in the concession stand. She always appeared to be upbeat and positive. Two of her brothers, Caleb and Jacob, both played for teams a coached.
When looking at the above I can only wish that I had space to write more. This is a special group of young people, who touched the lives of many in their young lives. The future appears bright for this group.
They have made their school, community, our youth athletic program, and at least one other individual proud of what they have become.
Random Thoughts and Obvious Observations and a Few Relevant Questions:
Congratulations to Kennedy Rushing for becoming the Sectional winner last week at Lebanon in the Pitch, Hit, and Run Competition. Kennedy won the overall for the 9-10 age group. She was, also, selected due to her score to advance to the Team Competition at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on May 30. Kennedy will be competing with other girls from Illinois and Missouri, prior to the Cardinals game with the Dodgers.
Carson Harris, also, represented Tri-C Youth Athletics at the event. This was the first year of Tri-C being involved in Pitch, Hit, and Run and it has been looked upon as a success and something to be continued in the future.
Good luck, Kennedy! We will all be pulling for you!
All coaches need to be advised that work assignments for Fun Day will be coming out soon. This is our largest fund raiser and we need the support of all to make it a success.
Due to recent cancellation of games we will be looking at some make-ups being assigned in the near future. You will be contacted and the information will appear on the website.
Coaches, let's try to keep in mind the idea of sportsmanship in our games. Allowing children to insult or make fun of opponents failures is not in the spirit of civil behavior. Nor is it acceptable to take an extra base when you are way ahead in a contest. Baseball should be fun for all and not a humiliating experience for children. All of us want to win. Very few more than I, but there is a manner in doing so. Let us all try to act with a bit of class and consider the words of the Golden Rule in our actions. The only thing a coach accomplishes by running up the score is to make themselves look foolish.
Wouldn’t baseball fans be wiser if they would not prematurely celebrate a World Championship after every win or an attitude that the season is over when their team loses? It is a 162 game season! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the season and the summer. Quite frankly, your behavior is not going to change whether your favorite team wins or not.
Until next time,
Hustle, and always
Use your “noodle.”