Well, this season has to go down as one of my most difficult, although rewarding season in all my years of coaching. Baseball wise it was a "nightmare", but player development and interpersonal relationship wise with all of them, it was one of my favorite.
So "baseball wise", we scored 98 runs this season, to our opponents' 74 (only 43 earned)......struck out 63 times to our opponents' 89.....had a team BA of .286 to our opponents' .198.....BUT!!....we walked 44 times to our opponents' 60.......committed 51 errors, to our opponents 34.....and I sprouted MANY more grey hairs than I had prior to the season.....we played .357 baseball.
We also had less players come out to tryouts (this was a freshman team) than a couple of the teams we faced had on their roster. We had to call back a couple players that we cut after our earlier tryouts just to get to a 13 player roster, when we didn't get the number of kids come out from our "winter" sports (soccer, basketball, whatever) than we had expected....this was a really tough season from day one.
However!! These 13 players were some of the most hard-working, greatly spirited, genuinely polite, and respectful group of kids I've had the pleasure of working with. Regardless of the talent (and it was VERY divergent from the two ends of the scale), they all pulled for each other, with the "better" players taking some of the "lesser" players under their wing, to interpret some of the stuff that we as coaches we presenting (I'm convinced that several players played very little, if any organized youth baseball experience, prior to them coming out to tryouts).
Practices ran smoothly, as when divided into groups, ALL worked hard at their particular station, even when not being directly supervised. I was pleased to see some that I highly doubted would be productive at all during the season, all come through at one time or another with that one "special" base hit, or "fine" defensive play....in fact, I can't think of a single player that didn't accomplish both.
Maybe it was a case of never getting disappointed when you set your expectations low enough, as we knew going in it was going to be a LOOOONNNNGGG year, but at the banquet, I was truly pleased and at ease, to be able to talk about the various attributes that each and every one of the players brought to team, even if our win/loss record was the lowest of any season I've ever coached.
Not saying that it's not a lot more fun to win, or that winning doesn't make it easier on the coach, but regardless of our record, I'll always remember this team, and the great group of kids that came out and gave it their all, even if that didn't equate to as many wins as I've had with other teams that I couldn't say the same things about.
Enjoyable season boys.....Thanks!!