A year ago at this time, I was knee deep in a losing season during my first trial-by-fire year as a 10-under coach in the Lebanon Girls Softball Association.
What a difference a year – and a quality coaching staff – makes.
Then, the team under my uncapable tutiledge, had three measley wins going into the end-of-the-season tournament. We lost in the first round and finished tied for third among five teams.
Now, our team has a completely different look, but both were equally talented and capable. This year’s group has one loss with two games remaining before the tournament.
The main difference is the coaching staff, mainly due to my relinquishing of the head coaching duties. My assistant coach, John Gravely, is now the head coach, and he brought along a whole slough of assistants to help this season.
And thank goodness, too, because some increased duties at work and with Leadership Wilson’s class of 2014 – the best class ever – would have made it impossible for me to take on that responsibility, as well. I’m finding it tough to find time to sleep as it is.
Gravely and his band of help are talented. They certainly work in tandem to raise the girls up in the ways of proper softballing. They improve with each practice and game.
Again, that’s not to take away from the talented group of girls we had last season. The difference is obvious. There’s a new group of coaches running the show, and they’re legit.
Recently, I joked with Gravely he should refer to me as team owner since The Lebanon Democrat sponsored the team. Since there are no trades or free agency, I assume my new role in title only.
I’ve been quite pleased with my role as helper with the team, and I’m more than eager to lend a hand whenever necessary. Just recently, Gravely bestowed upon me the honor of keeping the book. Except for mixing up the direction of the Ks to signify a strikeout swinging versus looking, I think I did a pretty good job.
Hey, it’s been a while.
Before the season started – even before the team received its uniforms – it was debated after every practice just what would be the team’s mascot. Several options were kicked around before one of the girls asked, “Who’s our sponsor?”
When The Democrat was revealed, without missing a beat, another girl came back with “we can be the journalists.”
I couldn’t have been more proud, but it didn’t quite meet with the reaction I had hoped and was thus vetoed. I’m not quite sure if they even settled on a consensus mascot, and it’s really a moot point at this juncture.
So to Madeline Adams, Brittni Allison, Amber Baugus, Kayla Bell, Julia Boyd, Casie Cottrell, Lexi Dekker, Celenia Duffey, Bailey Felkins, Annalee Gravely, Morgan Harlin and Amber Lagrange, I say best of luck on the rest of the season. The same goes to John Gravely and the rest of his coaching staff, a list too long to mention in this space.
It’s a good thing I’m not your head coach, because I’m quite sure you’re more fond of winning than the alternative.
Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.