So to put this thanks in context, I coached Caitlin for 10 seasons of softball; first in rec, then All-Stars, and finally in travel softball.  Truth be told I never liked coaching in games; there was a part of me that died a little when the girls would fail in an at-bat or in the field, their anguish caused me to suffer right with them.  I loved when they succeeded and felt genuine joy for them.  For many reasons, I think that I was better suited for coaching rec softball; I lacked the killer instinct that some coaches have to put the team ahead of a player.  There were girls I should have let go because of a lack of ability or the detriment that their parents brought to the team.  However, I loved practice and the time between games with the kids, parents like the Goleys and Bontragers, and my fellow coaches.

103_1264 I was lucky enough to coach with some terrific people.  During my time in rec softball there was Geoff Tease and JD Allen.  Geoff knew more about the game than JD and me; however, his calm demeanor and ability to coach the finer parts of the game were so critical to raising the games of the kids we coached.  Now coaching rec softball can be interesting as the ability of some girls could be called into question; spending time in the dugout during those moments that defy description were some of my favorite times because of the banter between Geoff, JD, and myself.  It brought light to moments that would drive normal coaches crazy.  JD was always willing to be the head coach so that I could avoid paperwork and meetings.  His genuine love of kids was never more evident than when he coached; there was no malice or meanness in JD, he genuinely wanted the best for every girl on the team.

img026When I coached at the all-star level, my biggest rival from the rec league days was added to the mix.  Tim Wade and his daughter, Hannah, were easily the best at the rec level.  Tim was a better coach and Hannah was the best player at the rec level.  Tim taught me so much about how to be coach; he is the original Energizer Bunny, everything he did he did loud, with energy, and enthusiasm.  I loved practice, but Tim REALLY loved practice.  He would hit balls for hours if there was one girl who wanted more work.  He would leave work at any hour just to practice.  Tim understood that recognition was important; from game balls to “attaboys”, Tim recognized the accomplishments of kids.  Tim, who grew up with very little, would not allow any of his players to lack for a piece of equipment or uniform.  Without fanfare, a girl who lacked something would suddenly have it because of “Coach Tim”.  There are few people in my experience who have such a big heart for kids.  Tim made my coaching time fun.  He is someone that I could trust with anything.

DSC_0405Bill Getman is the person who brought Tim and me into the travel softball world; which neither one of us knew much about.  After working as an assistant coach for one year, Bill helped me head coach for a couple years.  Bill knows the game and brought two girls into the sport that had so much ability.  As my “across the street” neighbor, we spent a lot of time together.  His humor and passion for the game made up for the fact that he is a Yankee fan.

2012 ASA Mountaineer Showdown Team PhotoI was approached by the head coach after each of us had suffered from a team schism to merge our favorite players and families into a single team; it was my best coaching decision.  I was able to bring my favorite players that would include Tim and Bill with me to Indy Freedom.  Our teams clicked and for the first time as a coach I was able to concentrate on the things that I enjoyed.  The reason for this was William Million; he may have been the best in-game coach that I ever worked with, he knew every rule and nuance.  He was able to milk talent at times when we were running a bit short.  Caitlin and I finished our softball days with William and got a chance to participate in the Columbus tournament where we finished 6th out of 150 teams after going 0 for 4 in the seating rounds.  It was the greatest experience in my coaching career.

So gentlemen thank you for a great 10 years.