Baseball coaches make sacrifices

Published 9:26 pm Monday, July 4, 2011

Coaching youth baseball and softball can be a tremendous strain on vacation plans and work schedules. However, all of the coaches involved said they are willing to let a few things go to be a part of the team. -- Chris Wasson

When the District 4 Dixie Youth tournaments resume play today, it won’t be just the players who have put in the hard work to get to the championship games.

Coaches for each side have been working with their teams to make them the best they can be. It’s not an easy job to be an All-Star coach.

Working around their own full-time schedules, while planning practice schedules, annd picking up players  can be tough. It becomes an even greater challenge when work is sacrificed..

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Many of the coaches have been able to use built up vacation days to make time for the games, like 11-12 coach Lee Peak.

“I’ve got plenty of vacation days saved up,” Peak said. “I was planning on taking a vacation next week anyway. At this point I have been coaching long enough to know what to expect. It’s really the regular season that makes it difficult on coaches.”

Peak’s fellow 11 and 12 coach C. Dwight Woods may not be as lucky if the O-zone team completes its run to the state championship tournament.

Woods, who pastors at Berean Baptist in Marion, may have to work around next week’s tournament if they win because he will be overseeing a revival.

“Yeah, it may be a problem,” said Woods. “I may have to commute the three-hours for Center where the tournament is. But, of course, it doesn’t matter if we don’t make it there first.”

Peak and Woods maybe used to the time  it takes to be a coach, but 9 and 10-year-old first time coach Miliam Turner has figured out just how much dedication it takes.

“It takes a lot of time if you put the effort that is needed to be good,” Turner said. “We are here for the kids and you want to take all you know and pass it on to them.”

Turner and Peak, like many of the coaches, are byproducts of the Selma league from years past and got into coaching to continue passing on the knowledge they gained as youngsters.

“I grew up, just like my assistants Alan Harrison, Ricky Waters and Don Smith,” Turner said. “As kids at 16,17,18 we were fortunate enough to be really successful. Even though (his team) are 9-10, we want to teach them all we know so they can be successful too.”

The parents, all the coaches said, make it easier on them.

“They have been great,” said Turner. “They are the key to the whole thing. If the parents support it make everything run so much smoother and they have been perfect.”