Maplewood South Orange Villagers 10U Coach Kenneth Ives is one of those guys who merges baseball and poetry (watch out, Ray Kinsella, Crash Davis and Annie Savoy). After his team went down to defeat at the hands of Westfield Blue on Wednesday night, he penned this love letter to the team. Straightforward and heartfelt, it tells the story of a season better than any sports report could do.
Hi Everyone, well, again, most of you were there so you know what took place this evening. Westfield Blue beat us 4-1 ending what was a fun, productive season.
A few parting words from me. As I said before, I had high expectations for this team based on how it performed last year. I didn't expect to end up with a record of 13-2, win our league's division and play in the league championship game. Although we all wanted to win tonight and take another shot at either Union or Westfield White on Friday night, the boys have a lot to be proud of and they should all hold their heads up high.
I need to thank the following: First and formost, I need to thank Jeffrey Nelson, David Ives, Caleb H R, Luke Jackson, Eliot Dix, Kieran Reynolds, Malcolm Rogers, Jake Knoll, Lance Christopher, Cullen Wolff, Carter Nunez, Ryan Sartori and Caleb Gagne.
I've now coached most of these boys for three years. All of them are wonderful, great, dynamic, unique kids. The one reason I enjoy coaching in the summer is I get to coach the same kids year-after-year. You get to know them better and in a very small but significant way to me, get to see them grow up and be part of that process.... When I see the likes of Malcolm Rogers as the starting pitcher against my team, or the likes of Kieran Reynolds patroling centerfield, or the likes of Eliot Dix coming up to bat, or the likes of Jeffrey Nelson on the basepaths, at that moment I'm wishing that those boys were on my team as opposed to the other team. My wish comes true in the summer. I truly love coaching this group of kids.
Second, there are not better men to coach with than Jim Jackson, Ken Gagne, and Lou Sartori. Jim and I have now coached for three year together. I'll say the same thing to you that I told our rec. parents: Jim is a great coach and even a better man. It's been a pleasure to coach with him, but I've been really fortunate that he has become a friend.
When I coach with Jim I also get Luke on my team, and everyone knows what that means. Luke can make any coach look like a genius, even me! Ken may know more about baseball than all of us combined and he's such a cool guy that when he's around he's the one that the boys want to listen to.
Lou was not around as much as we would have liked, but his influence is undeniable. He was the head coach of this team for two years and is responsible for laying the foundation for the huge sucuss that we had this year. He is a mentor a deserves a lot of the credit for how the boys played this year.
Third, all of us guys know that behind every man is a great woman. Two women deserve mention for all their help with this team. First and foremost, Kerry Jackson. I think Kerry realized very early on that I was a bit administratively challenged.... We'd talk in the mornings and in her very calm, intelligent, non-imposing way she would make sure our ducks were in order. I can't tell you how many times she reminded me that something needed to be done that I had forgotten. Thank you for everything, Kerry. I love you.
Judy Schwartz deserves thanks, as well. Judy dedicated a lot of time into making sure that all of us were on the same page regarding the schedule, no easy task when considering all the changes that get made during the season to the schedule. Thank you, Judy.
Lastly, I want to thank you, the parents. I'll say to you what I told the parents after the rec. season. I always chuckle when you thank the coaches for putting in the time to coach your children. We should really be thanking you! It is all of you who allow us to attempt to impact your boys in some positive, constructive way for a fleeting time in their lives. Take my word for it, there are very few other places us coaches rather be than on a baseball field coaching your sons!! It's a privilege and honor.
So, one more time. Thanks or all of your help and support. It was awesome. See you all in February for the tryouts.