By: Coach Joseph Russ
For the past 3 years I have been very fortunate to coach a great group of kids in the Bladen County Dixie Youth Baseball program (Bladenboro Dodgers). I got into coaching like most people do is because I have a kid that plays, however once I started coaching it turned into more than just my kid, I considered all of the kids mine.
I remember 4 years ago almost to the date me and my dad were talking and it was our plans to coach my son Aiden’s ball team together. We had it all worked out, we knew just what we were going to do, and how we were going to do it.
This all changed on November 4, 2011 when my dad suddenly passed away. The next baseball season rolled around and as I assembled my team and my coaches everything was going pretty good, except there was one piece missing and that was my dad.
That is where the next part of this story is so good and interesting. Through coaching I have learned that you are only as good as the people helping you. I would personally like to thank Nathan Allen for all the help and everything you do for me, you do not know how much I enjoy coaching with you. I not only have a coach on the field I have a friend off the field as well.
To all of the parents, you have made my coaching experience very enjoyable. Thank you for getting the kids to practice, to all the games and most importantly for allowing us to coach your kids and never causing any problems. I can honestly say that I believe you have made our job easy and enjoyable as well. I really never understood how much this mattered until I started coaching.
Now on to the real reason for this short article, the kids (the players). I have watched when most of you were first on our team, and how you all have grown and put a lot of effort into what we were doing. I know there were hot days, and days you may have asked yourself why are we doing all of this? However, I want all of you to know that I am proud of you for all of your efforts and that this is only the starting point.
This year’s team I had seven of my returning players from last year and then we added 5 more kids to the team for a total of 12 kids. We worked really hard and while I saw a big improvement in my older kids I saw just as much improvement from my new kids. Most of my new kids were 5 years old and the first time they had played organized baseball. Let me tell u these kids are going to be GREAT! These kids earned the right this year to call themselves UNDEFEATED! These kids went 13-0 for the season and I could not be more proud of them.
As for me and Nathan and the 7 of our returning kids this will close the final chapter of our Coach Pitch days and we look forward to next year as we move up to Minor League. I can truly say that these kids are ready and I am already excited about what they are going to accomplish at the next level. Now the next thing in order for us, is to win the Division II ALL STAR TOURNAMENT next weekend in Tabor City.
I want to wish the 5 new kids that joined our team this year luck and remember that great things don’t happen when you hold back. Kids remember your coaches love you and GOOD LUCK in all you do. WAY TO GO GUYS ON A PERFECT SEASON!
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