The year was 1982 and my daughter's best
friend Mary told her dad to pick my daughter for his new girl's t-ball team. Coach
Larry did just that, then asked me if I would like to help him coach. My
first reaction was, "Hey, I've played men's softball for several years
but I don't know anything about coaching kids - especially girls - LITTLE
GIRLS! - and T-BALL?!?
Needless to say I ended up on the field
teaching what I knew to a group of 8 year olds. The Rainbows as they were
called, were a real challenge. We played games behind schools and on oversized
boys fields - any where the recreation could stick us. Things were going
just fine. Without looking at the score book, I don't remember what our
'record' was. My daughter and her friend were having a great time - and
really so was I. And then it happened.
Coach Larry informed me after a game
one afternoon that the team would be mine for the rest of the season; he
and his family were going to Connecticut for "the rest of the summer."
Me? THE COACH? I'm just an assistant coach. Hey, I'm just here because...The
season went on, my wife and I keeping score in a spiral note book (which
I still have) and some how we made it through.
I enjoyed myself so much and my daughter
wanted to keep playing so when she moved up to the 9-10s - Fast Pitch,
I was there as HEAD COACH and Mary was now on MY team. Her dad, "Coach
Larry" was my assistant coach.
That spring I was offered my choice of
two teams, one called the "Hobos" and the other the "SweetHearts".
I took the one that sounded more like a girl's team. I think I made the
right choice. After two years my daughter was ready to move up again and
I chose to stay with the SweetHearts and as they say, "That's now
I coached my team, assisted on her teams,
coached two teams at once during those next eight years but always loved
my "SweetHearts". As I tell them, "Once a SweetHeart, always
Over the years various coaching opponents
have joked that I should change the name to a "tougher sounding name".
Today they're out of the game, no longer coaching and their teams just
a distant memory while the SweetHearts are heading into our second quarter century.
As for me, I've enjoyed the years coaching
and this is definitely not ...