By Casey Wilson
I couldn’t be more proud to have had the opportunity to coach the Orioles in Cal Ripken this year.
Throughout the years and all of the sports my kids have played, I have never had a chance to coach my kids because I always put my work first. Finally, I made the right decision to change my priorities and I decided to coach Camden for his 12-year-old year.
It was an awesome experience for me. I guarantee that I learned even more than my players did this season. I gained an appreciation for coaching, mentoring and leadership that I’ve never fully grasped before. I saw a love of baseball at its purest form and I saw the joy that I remember feeling when I stepped onto the little league fields 25 + years ago.
I had a great group of kids who worked hard and were great teammates to each other. It wasn’t until our Tornado Tournament that I really understood how much each of our boys cared. We suffered a heart-breaking loss in the championship game in the bottom of the 6th inning.
When I met my team in the outfield, there wasn’t a dry eye. It seemed that each kid was blaming themselves for the loss, not pointing the finger at their teammates. It was a rare form of accountability that you just don’t see among kids that age – and it was completely endearing for me to see.
Even I got emotional as we had our talk because I could see how much it meant for our boys. Seeing the emotion and disappointment in my kids’ faces was a memory that I’ll never forget, and I wanted so badly for them to experience what success feels like.
My team didn’t get down. They came back and played even harder. And a few weeks later, we reeled off four straight wins to end the season as the League champions. Now I got to experience seeing the excitement and pride in my kids’ hearts – and it also is a memory I will never forget.
I had an amazing time coaching my son, who will tell you that I was 10 times harder on him than anyone else. He’s always been an all-star caliber baseball player, but I challenged him to be a leader – and he stepped up to the challenge
I had a chance to coach my two nephews, Race and Nate. What a valuable experience that was for me and I’m proud of both of them for how much effort they gave to their teammates this season
I had the privilege of coaching six all-stars, each with a different set of qualities that were invaluable to our team’s success. I’m so proud of them for their hard work and I know that each of them will represent Carbon baseball with the same sense of pride and passion as they did for the Orioles this year.
Overall, I am blessed and thankful that I had this opportunity. Having parents tell me that I made their kid enjoy playing baseball again was all of the encouragement that I needed and made the whole season worthwhile for me.
Thank you all for your support – and GO ORIOLES!