Coach Joel? Seriously?

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A while back, my good buddy Keith Lee posted a guest blog about his experience with baseball. Fast forward a few years later, Keith and I are both graduate students at the University of Florida. Keith is a coach and serves on the board for Gainesville Youth Baseball, the city league in town. Already a coach at the tee ball level for his son, Keith decided to take on an additional challenge this season and signed up to coach the 11-12 year old team. Looking for assistants, Keith asked a huge baseball fan that happens to stink at playing the game: me. 

Yes, after years of writing and loving baseball, I am the assistant coach for the Gainesville Rays 11-12 year old team. Hell, I’m even a certified coach now! It’s bizarre to be sure, but as soon as I hit the field and started working with the kids, I realized why I love the game. As so many say, baseball is a game for kids and anyone who says it is absolutely right. The kids come to practice excited and ready to play, truly taking instruction to heart, and are ultimately there to learn something and have fun. Winning a few games will be nice, but if I can leave a mark with these kids about sportsmanship and why baseball has endured for more than 150 years, I will feel like a successful coach.

My family thinks it’s hysterical (they watched me play ball as a kid), but the experience is well worth the laughs I might endure from my family.

As always, with baseball season approaching, RFTHT will attempt to see a few baseball games this year (finishing grad school will surely help inspire me to write a bit more about baseball). Right now, we’re looking at a tour of the Tampa/St. Pete baseball scene, including a trip to the Trop to see the Rays, and hopefully a visit to a couple of the numerous minor league teams that dot the region.

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