August 8, 2022 at 10:38 a.m.

An Awesome Ending

by Levi Zimmerman
Last summer, I was asked to help coach a 13-14 year-old baseball team as an assistant. I didn't realize what I was in for until the first day of practice. I quickly understood that the kids were severely underdeveloped and neglected.
Not neglected at home, but neglected as players.
They didn't have a grasp on the fundamentals of the game. When being coached, they often reverted to old, unsound techniques. It was extremely frustrating at times watching them doing things the wrong way over and over.
But, they wanted to be there and they wanted to play ball, and they had fun.
We won just one game last year, and that was a miracle. We got pounded game in and game out.
This summer, I joined the team again. We had a 14-15 year-old team that consisted of mostly the same players. Instead of being an assistant, I became the head coach unexpectedly. In practice, we worked on the fundamentals consistently. I worked them hard and pushed them more. I was always having to hold them to higher expectations than they had for themselves. As the season progressed, we got better and better. Most games, we were competitive and played as a team. Kids started making plays, and as they made them and realized they could win, they were having fun. Even when we lost, we played a full game and were close.
We ended up winning four games this year.
Of course I am happy with the wins, but I am more happy about what the kids achieved within themselves. Many of them realized that they can win and make plays like anyone else. They over-achieved.
This team of players that nobody wanted to coach and left behind went out and beat some damn good baseball teams.
This team of kids that were years behind athletically went out and proved that hard work, commitment and a positive attitude leads to success.
This story isn't as much about baseball as it is about the game of life.
I hope that they can look back on this summer later in life and remember that it's possible to over-achieve.