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This spring I’ve taken on a new challenge. The void of time I’ve found by not coaching high school baseball for the first time in six years led me to cut my coaching teeth on six, seven and eight-year-olds in the coach-pitch division of Manchester Little League.
Instead of worrying about pitch counts, grades, players dealing with girl trouble and drama with whacko parents who do nothing but ruin athletics for everyone involved, my biggest worry now is making sure gloves are on the right hand.
It’s really baseball at its purest form. Kids playing a kids game. I don’t know about other teams, but the parents have been great to work with. Then again, we haven’t played any games yet.
Last week in our one day of practice I got to watch a kid try to chase down a base runner who was rounding third all the way from left field. I had to restrain myself from yelling at the catcher to make the right cut call. I almost forgot where I was.
The first thing we did on the cold day was base-running drills to get the blood flowing. All we practiced was running through first base and not stopping. Sure enough, the first batter to take batting practice didn’t run through first. Then the second one followed suit by not doing it, either.
But they are so proud they get to first base it’s impossible to ruin their joy by telling them that they did something wrong. So I let it slide most of the time.
I’m not sure how many games we will win this year. Maybe I’m signing my coaching death sentence by saying I could care less (I know this stuff can get serious sometimes). Honestly, I never cared how many we won at the high school level. Teach the game and put player safety and personality first and things generally tend to work out.
So maybe things really aren’t all that different no matter what level you’re at.
OK, it’s been a month and some change since I made your eyes bleed with a column painfully laced with personal goals and agendas instead of talking about anything of interest.
But I may as well give you an update. I did reach my goal of losing 20 pounds in a month – dropping from 227 to 207.5. Well, 19.5 is close enough, I’ll round up.
Now if I can only knock off about 25 more pounds before June gets here.
-Josh Peterson is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer and is the editor of the Manchester Times. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29.