All photos on this blog are the property of Mary McGinty Photography (unless noted otherwise) photos may not be used or copied without my permission

May 25, 2010

A team, a real team

The way Lombard baseball works is, you can't go full time travel until age 13. Until then you have to play in-house and travel part time. We lose kids to other suburbs that travel full-time earlier. TJ has been on Lombard Thunder travel for 3 years now. From day 1 we knew our team would not go full-time due to our coaches deep involvement with the in-house organization. Our boys all turned 13 this year, so the other Lombard travel teams went full-time and no longer play in-house. We lost 4 kids that moved on to other teams, but gained 3 new power houses
TJ had a decision to make and he chose staying on the Thunder; successful, competitive and fun part-time travel team. The clincher is he and his team have to play Senior level in-house ball. The problem?
 All competitve ballplayers are on full-time teams and what's left in the in-house league?
 the player that wants to play ball, but may not have the skills or time commitment a travel team requires. Lombard split up our Thunder team to keep it fair. We went into this with our eyes open and expecting what could be a brutal baseball experience.
To add insult to injury I got a call 2 months ago saying TJ has been drafted to theWhite Sox, but there isn't a coach yet..."we are hoping a few dad's would volunteer" WHAT!? NO COACH? VOLUNTEER?
You have got to be fukking kidding me...My Child goes to HS next year and no coach equates to, no correction of bad habits that can hit a 13yo ball-player in the gut. I think TJ is one of 3 players in 8th grade on our team due to late August birthday, TJ has to play down a level. Basically he never play's with his classmates as he is technically a 7th grader in sport age
Long story short, I wasn't havining it...no coach...wait for a volunteer bullshit. I called TJ's private pitching coach from Dupage Training academy and asked if he had any interest in coaching. Imagine my excitment when he immediately  said YES. Mark was a HS, College and professional Boston Red Sox pitcher (blew out elbow in his 1st Boston season) Mark does not live in Lombard and has no kids that play Lombard ball...no kids at all for that matter.

To donate all his time and energy for free (not paid)  without a child on the team speaks volumns in terms of passion for the game of baseball. Now, I'm going to be blunt....Our team was horriffic! Mark had to start with square one...How to throw and catch a ball properly, the right way to slide...brutal. TJ was extremely frustrated and not w/o tears. "We may lose every game" I told him, "but keep your eye on the prize" "your personal skills will improve, and you are playing travel at the same time"
We got slaughtered the first 5 out of 6 games, everyone was frustrated and morale was low. Mark just kept teaching and incouraging the boys. Guess what? we started losing by a few runs, then we won a game, then like a switch was flipped our boys started playing baseball...real f- ing baseball. Last night our boys were freaking on fire...everyone hit the ball, plays were made! Then Fucking HELL FROZE OVER and we THE "WHITE SOX" SLAUGHTERED THE OTHER TEAM.!!!!
Mark made ballplayers out of this group..real freaking ballplayers!

We are not the Lombard "Bad News Bears" anymore and it's all due to one man's dedication to the game. Mark loves and respects the game of baseball and equally loves to teach kids the game. Our boys are having fun, they walk with their heads up and they are all learning new things.
The old saying "as long as your haveing fun, it doesn't matter if you win or lose" is a bunch of BULLSHIT...no one ever has fun losing all the time. You're suppose to have fun playing, that's different.

TJ and Mark had a special bond. They clicked the minute they met 2 years ago: this little kid with natural pitcing talent (that needed some fine tuning) and this retired play player that loves the game
of baseball

Thank you, Mark
you are a great role model and inspiration to all these kids

No comments: