Springtime means different things to different people. For some, it means the end of the school year is just around the corner, while for others it means they can once again take part in their favorite outdoor activities or hobbies. For me, it means another baseball season has arrived.
For as long as I can remember, the thought of another season of Cincinnati Reds baseball is what got me through the cold, dark winters.
Well, life has a way of changing what’s important to a person. For instance, while I still look forward to the opening day festivities in Cincinnati, which took place Tuesday, my favorite part of the arrival of spring is the start of another youth baseball season.
What makes this time of the year so special to me is I not only get to watch the joy on my son’s face playing the game he loves, but I get to be a part of it as an assistant coach, a role I’ve held ever since my son started playing baseball back in 2018.
While I’ve noticed the amount of youth signing up to play baseball has increased over the past few years, the same can’t be said about coaches as it can be a struggle to find parents willing to help coach.
I get it. Parents today are busier than ever. I struggle myself to get home from work and to the ball diamond in time for practices and games, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
In fact, it’s safe to say I won’t soon forget this past fall season in which our Ostrander team started the season 3-3 before winning six straight games to end the regular season 9-3. After opening the double-elimination tournament with a win, we lost for the first time in seven outings. With the season on the line, we ran off three straight wins to make the championship game, where we lost to an undefeated team out of Kilbourne.
After the game there was reason to celebrate. Not only did the team receive trophies for finishing second, but I believe the boys on our team learned that through practice, teamwork, and having some fun along the way, anything is possible. As an assistant coach on the team, I learned baseball has a way of bringing out the kid in all of us, the kid who fell in love with the game 30-plus years ago when my dad signed me up to play and agreed to help coach my team.
Unfortunately, kids age out of the various age divisions every other year or so, which means we said goodbye to half our team after last season. However, my son and I are looking forward to making new memories with the new additions to this year’s team.
By the way, if you are one of those parents on the fence when it comes to whether or not to volunteer to help coach your child’s team, go for it! Take it from me, you won’t regret it.
Joshua Keeran is editor of The Delaware Gazette. Reach him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 740-413-0900.