Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of MPTLL #2: Dedicated Coaches

Jake Wade, Harry & Bryant
Manager, 1957-Present
The eight Major League managers at Myers Park Trinity Little League have over 150 years of cumulative experience coaching their teams. The Minor League division has a few dedicated coaches of its own who return each year. The same can be said for our 13 and over MP Academy teams and some of the other areas of our league. You would be hard pressed to find many leagues in the world that can make those statements.

Myers Park Trinity is fortunate to have many parents that are willing to coach a team or help the league in some other capacity. Volunteer organizations depend on these types of valuable participants.

But being a parent with a child on the team is not a requirement for coaching at MPTLL. In our Majors division, it is the exception to the rule. Some of our longest serving coaches' children aged out of the program many years ago. Others do not yet have kids old enough to play. And some have kids who aged onto their teams after more than a decade of coaching. Volunteering to coach at Myers Park Trinity is a choice we make based on our dedication to our teams, the league and the game. We are caretakers of our teams and we strive to perpetuate the positive effects that youth baseball has had on our players for generations.

We do not coach our teams in order to create an ideal situation for our own children. We are here to stay, so we think long-term regarding what's best for our teams and the league - not just what makes our own kids have an enjoyable experience. "Daddy-ball," as it is often called, is a problem in many areas of youth sports. That is why many people have advocated for non-parent coaches. By having dedicated, full-time coaches in these divisions of play, Myers Park Trinity takes "daddy-ball" out of the equation for most of its players aged 10 and up during the regular season and all-stars. That is extremely rare these days, and it is one aspect of our league that sets us apart from so many. It is one of the fundamental reasons that MPTLL is a great league.

In case you missed it......

Best of MPTLL #1: Community Atmosphere.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Best of MPTLL #1 - Community Atmosphere

Online registration for Spring Baseball, Softball and T-Ball has begun. Not a bad time to reflect on what makes Myers Park Trinity so great. And it is great. So here are some of the best things about MPTLL, starting with....

1. Community Atmosphere. 

Whether you're at Randolph Park or Independence Park, MPTLL is a great place to spend a day at the fields. There's nothing quite like being at the ballpark on game day. It's a quiet and peaceful setting at the start of 9am batting practice, with perhaps a lingering chill in the air.  The well-manicured fields surrounding the cages are untouched apart from the work of the grounds crew and coaches to prepare them for the day ahead. The ping of bats begins to wake up the park.

A buzz of energy quickly takes over, with a couple dozen kids on each field starting the day of games simultaneously, each player full of hope for a successful day on the diamond. The parents settle in on the sidelines or head over to the concession stand with little ones for an early treat. The grounds crew can rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor - watching kids play ball.

And it continues like this into the late afternoon. On a nice day, the kids don't want to leave after their games, so the park is most full of life at midday. They can bask in the glory of a big win, or congratulate others on a job well done. They may grab lunch at the concession stand or the Burger Shack and watch their friends play. By age 12, they know almost every other player so there's always a game to watch. Or there is surely a game to be invented behind the backstop, because of course someone has a tennis ball in his bag. The young ones can just find a good spot to dig in the dirt.

The parents and coaches are happy to stay too. It's much better than the yard work or errands awaiting them. Why not stay another hour and catch up with old and new friends?

I think Jake Wade, who has coached his Harry & Bryant team since 1957, summed up the Myers Park Trinity atmosphere best: "In our league, everybody wins. Everything is good and right, as it should be. One can leave the real world and go out there and get refreshed. There are no diversions for the kids, no distractions, no drinking, drugs, smoking or cursing... just baseball."

What else can you say? This is how we spend our Saturdays. It's nothing new to MPTLL. It has been this way for over 60 years, and it will continue into the future....