1974 was the first time I stepped unto the Little League field on Olivera Rd and was instantly sucked in by the joy of all the Little Leaguers that were there to celebrate Opening Day Ceremonies. My little boy was so excited to play "Junior" ball and his younger brother was anxiously having to wait until the following year to play due to the age ability. Eventually both my sons played Little League until they were 12, both made the All-Star teams every year, they went on to play Babe Ruth Ball, High School ball, College ball, and after they did their years in the Navy they both came out and played for City Leagues.
Playing Little League was where they learned from some of the greatest coaches how to have Pride in their team, how to be a Team Player because there is no "I" in TEAM, they learned fundamentals, how to win and lose with their heads held up because "there is NO CRYING in Baseball" and they learned to LOVE the GAME! They were taught by coaches who ate, drank and slept the game. They would yell and be scolded for their mistakes and yet praised on anything that showed their were learning and growing to LOVE the GAME themselves.
They still talk about those men and how inspirational they were during those years. Back then you could yell "Hey batter, batter, batter, batter" a million times or "Swing batter, batter, batter" or "No pitcher out there, No pitcher out there!" and everyone seemed to be OK with that. We all had so much fun!!! I LOVED watching my sons learn and grow into great ball players and we were all so inspired about the fact that last year one of their All-Star couches from 30 years ago actually came out to watch the team that now my sons are coaching! Knowing that they are now sharing that knowledge with the next generation was heart warming for him to see. We were all so very proud of that! How many couches come back to see how and what they inspired to a 10 or 12 year old??? It was a Great feeling!
Fast forward to 2008 and I still LOVE watching my sons inside the baseball field! They eat, drink and sleep baseball because they have that LOVE for the GAME!! Now I have Grandsons who play and I have watched them become great ball players. They are being taught everything their Dad and Uncle learned and are paying it forward. I have watched wonderful little boys and girls grow in their potential, take pride in their team and learn that they need to be tough and yet have fun! Yet, somehow, even though I have heard spectators in the stands say or yell out that these couches, my sons, are "Horrible'" "Too Strict" " Too Mean" "Yell to Much" and I have even heard them called "Cheaters" or that they are "Teaching Dirty Ball Playing" and that "They don't belong in this league"! Oh my gosh! Someone forgot that I am their Mom and they are talking about my children! Opps!!
Yet, for the past four years these couches have taken these players all the way to FIRST PLACE with trophy's to take home!!! They gotta be doing something RIGHT! You can ask any YANKEE player and or their parents, past or present, about their players who came into the YANKEE FAMILY and hated to leave when their time was up and they had to move on. You can come out to any YANKEE game & see former players and their player coming over to watch! We all know that there are Yankee Haters out there but if you have never seen a Yankee game or ever taken the time to talk to a Yankee player or parent you will find that they would not want to be on any other team!! They play exciting games with all their heart & soul! They have learned to become better ball player, have better self esteem and will go on to play baseball because their have been taught to LOVE the GAME! Because as they say at the beginning of every game.. "But win or lose I will always to my best!" and YANKESS do!
And someday some of these players will have children of their own and hopefully some will coach their own Little League team and they will talk about what Couch Gil & Couch Chuck taught them and pay it forward to another generation of new ball players. After all, isn't that what we all want for our children?
I can say from my 30 some years of
experience of being around Baseball players through the ups, downs, ......it's
ALL been worth it because I too have learned from both my sons and now my
Grandsons that I too have a LOVE for the GAME!
A Proud Yankee Mom & Grandma!
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