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Boys Of Summer Express The Spirit Of The Game

Summer baseball is a different animal.

As our many young locals prepare to embark on another fun summer season, it is the excitement and enthusiasm that these players bring everyday that gets me so anxious to get started. The competition and motivation is not the same as during the spring high school season; in fact is quite different. Yet these stark contrasts are part of what make the summer season so special and enjoyable.

Summertime is when young ball players get a chance to fine-tune their games. Guys get a chance to play on club teams with friends from other schools and other programs, which combines multiple trains of thought that are shared between these players. Players are able to develop their games, learn new aspects of hitting, pitching and fielding, and are able to compete in less stressful competitive scenarios. The summer is truly the developmental time of the season for year-round baseball players.

Any kid that suits up and plays during the summer is doing so for love of the game. While their friends and classmates may be distracted by other summertime activities, these dedicated ball players know this is the best time of year to grow and improve as individuals. The summer brings a lot of personal sacrifice for practices and games, playing many times in sweltering heat and muggy South Florida conditions. Unlike during the regular season when a dream of a state title pushes most guys to perform, the summer has a motivation solely on playing the game.

It can be equally challenging for me to maintain the same level of enthusiasm for summer baseball as during the regular season. With a different level of intensity, the whole atmosphere at the ball park can be less then the high level that this baseball junkie often craves. Yet even as the summer season gets under way, I cannot help but to find myself brimming with interest at what these next few months will provide for the baseball community.

Last summer was my first taste of this important season of ball games, and the memories it provided are cherished in my vast mental memory banks. In many ways these thrills are the type I need just to bring me along and prepare myself for the grind of the spring season each year. It is a great reward to work so closely with young, passionate ballplayers that are just learning and absorbing everything they can get. I absolutely love the game of baseball, and any chance gained to feed that love into other ballplayers is something to be grateful for.

Every interaction is what makes life so interesting. In turn I learn the game from a new view, and watch stars emerge ahead of their breakout season in the spring. In return I learn so much, and most notably is the new baseball music shared with me.

There is very little pressure to perform during the summer season. Guys are learning how to develop what they know and also incorporate new aspects into their repertoire. Everybody wants to win whenever they take the field, and yet at the same time everyone understands that the lessons gained now are simply to help improve the chance of winning come next spring. The real victories come in every new lesson gained on the baseball diamond and how that shapes these young men into better overall ball players.

History has an important place in the game of baseball. I personally love history of any topic, but have a special appreciation for baseball history. Each and every chance to share the game of the past to present-day ball players is something not to be missed on. Baseball is a game of tradition, and so few of today’s players even know why they do some of the ingrained processes that make up their normal playing repertoire. But what a treat it can be when they find out just why ball players wear jersey numbers, why one never shows up the other team, or how the fabled “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” became ingrained into baseball norm.

For true baseball junkies like me, any chance to be around the game all summer long is reward enough. The young players I see and cover each summer help to fuel my passion for the game, and help to inspire any work needed from me along the way. In turn it comes as a great honor to help inspire these young ball players by simply encouraging their efforts and showing appreciation for the plays they make. We feed off each other and are there to lift one another up.

Weather is a major hindrance during the summer season. Last year alone we were forced to endure numerous rain delays, rainouts and other weather-related nuisances. At times this would bring me to a boiling point of frustration.

One such instance came during the opening day of a summer tournament, where the whole day’s games were washed out by an unexpected storm. Yet while I stood and brewed in my anger, some members of a team helped remind me the best way to conduct myself during these normal summer annoyances. This group took the opportunity to water-slide across the deep thick pools of water that consumed their outfield grass. Splashing through this mess like it was Splashwater Kingdom was the only logical response to a day washed out from playing the game we were all there to enjoy.

Baseball is my business and my passion. But it is important to remember that it is also a game. Baseball is something to be loved and enjoyed, and the Boys of Summer do a fantastic job of keeping that spirit alive in us all.

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