Williams is man behind summer ball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Youth baseball is taken very seriously in Selma.

No one knows that better than Tracy Williams.

For the past 13 years, Williams has been an employee of the city of Selma. The last three of those have been as the director of the summer baseball program for Parks and Recreation.

“From about February to June, I don’t have a personal life, but from then on I’m good,” Williams joked. “It’s not the job to be in if you don’t love doing baseball. If you do it for the money or for your ego and to meet a lot of people, it’s not worth it. It’s like being a police officer. You don’t become a police officer for the money. You do it because you enjoy doing it.”

Among the things Williams has to do is coordinate schedules, find and organize volunteer coaches, set up the draft, review and revise the rule book, order equipment, set up tryouts and the list goes on.

Although a lot of the grunt work will be done before Opening Night Thursday, April 7, there is still a lot to keep on top of during the season.

Williams credits everyone involved with the process from start to finish.

“I have to coordinate with Terry Jackson about the umpires, but he’s the man as far as the umps go,” he said. “We have a grounds crew that does a great job. I have to look out for the fields some days because I’m the only person here. But I usually don’t have to do too much because they do their jobs really well.”

Williams’ duties have doubled this summer because long-time softball director Beth Mott resigned from the job.

The numbers can become a lot to handle at times. About 4,000 kids plus as many sets of parents plus more than 100 coaches equals a very hard juggling act.

“I have very few problems with the coaches, and the only handicap the kids have is that they rely on the parents to get them to the ball park,” Williams said. “A lot of times, it is taken too seriously. But I’ve never had a situation with a parent where we couldn’t sit down and work something out.”

Williams himself was a coach for eight years, and he has two children that play.

In his years as a coach and organizer, there have been several young lives Williams has affected – too many to remember the names of them all, he said.

But some names and faces tend to stick out more than others.

“I’ve got kids that I coached when they were 9 and 10-years old that are playing in college now,” Williams said. “I coached Mayor Perkins’ son, and he still calls me Coach Tracy. Sometimes, you’ll see kids that have never played before, and they’ll try harder than the kids with natural talent.

“You get the best out of those players and teach them something other than baseball that they can use later on in life.”