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The Boys Of Summer Inspire Us All

The Boys of Summer help all of South Florida’s baseball fans remember to enjoy the game in every moment.

The Boys of Summer help all of South Florida’s baseball fans remember to enjoy the game in every moment.

Summer is a tough season in South Florida, and the weather has a massive affect on its baseball. Everybody knows it and expects it. In many ways we all cringe as we prepare for it. The rainy season often shows no mercy, and especially on the playing fields that are so essential to allow us all to enjoy the game we love.

While these challenges may drive away the casual baseball fan, the die-hards in the baseball community use these struggles to reinforce that passion. We joke that occasional rain storms help to drive the mosquitoes away and cool things off. Playing baseball in hot, humid temperatures helps keep athletes fit and trim. The nights are longer, so we have time for rain delays. Plus, they give us time get a hot dog and check our Facebook pages.

As the rest of the nation digs itself out of the winter tundra and enjoys its finest weather for playing baseball, we here in South Florida dig in and buckle down for the region’s toughest tests. To play summer baseball in South Florida you have to truly love the game. While everyone else is at the beach or off on some magical vacation adventure, the Boys of Summer take the field and keep the spirit of this beautiful game alive in us all.

For the past several years High School Baseball Network has been privileged to provide a venue for summer baseball. Through tournaments and league play we are afforded the chance to watch the stars of tomorrow develop right before our eyes. In some ways, we are even given the opportunity to help shape that growth and guide these future stars into the next great ambassadors of America’s Favorite Pastime.

Summer baseball has grown to become something special to HSBN, and also for me personally. As a Massachusetts native, summertime has always meant baseball to me. So it only comes naturally that I crave being around the game this time of year. Yet it means so much more to me now, and hopefully I am not alone.

No matter how old a ballplayer gets, whenever he conjures up his favorite memories of baseball it will almost certainly be ones of playing the game during these tough summer months. We do not forget the joy of playing baseball with our best friends, where winning is simply not as important as it is to just lace up the cleats and play alongside them. We want to win and we give it the same effort as always, but winning will not be the first memories that come to us as we look back on each summer season. What always stands out is the fun that came with chasing each victory together.

We adults live vicariously through you Boys of Summer. You embody the game and you continue to make the special plays that we no longer have the physical ability to. We live and die out on that field with you all, and most times even more than you do.

The best thing that we adults can offer is the chance to lead and guide you Boys of Summer the right way. When you are young you live for the moments directly in front of you, the ball in the air rather than the one being thrown on the next pitch. Living in each moment is the core to what makes youth so unique and special, even while it lacks the foresight to know what is ahead even while looking at what is right in front of you.

At the ball field with the Boys of Summer are the adults who also never grew out of the game. From the coaches, fans and umpires right down to the media and league directors, we adults all still carry that youthful baseball spirit within our hearts. The best gift we have left is the chance to pass that spirit on to you, our Boys of Summer.

Every young ball player and young man deserves a proper role model. There is no greater motivation in the world than to be inspired, and no one can inspire us better than our role models. We all have those people in our lives who have nurtured our passion for the things we love, like playing baseball.

The chance to be an inspiration to someone else is a great reward in itself. For me personally, I strive everyday to live up to the guidance that has been shown to me, and to make my role models proud. In my case, most of my heroes are now gone.

When sudden thunder storms hit this summer, be sure to get the duck out of the rain.

When I was a young athlete growing up in Massachusetts, I had one coach who played the biggest role in guiding me on the right path in life. My coach, Fred Scerbo, was more than just the guy with the whistle and the clipboard, more than just the guy calling the plays and running the practices. Coach Scerbo was dedicated to each of his guys, and it wasn’t just about athletic success. He cared about who we became as people, and how sports can help to shape that process.

I was fortunate to be one of Coach Scerbo’s favorites. I was a leader on the team, a person of strong character who could get the rest of the guys to trust and follow me. Meanwhile, I followed my coach. He was always fair and honest, but also humorous and fun. He drove me to stay dedicated, to fight adversity however it may attack, and to believe that things always work out right in the end.

Coach was opinionated and intense, sharp and sarcastic, and yet never curt or negative. He guided me and many others to find our path in life, and our accomplishments were all the reward he ever needed. I will forever be grateful that God allowed me the chance to thank him for the privilege of having known him just before he passed away from cancer shortly after I graduated high school.

Coach Scerbo’s spirit has always lived on through those he inspired, and further on through those that they in turn inspired. Like a ripple in water, this process is endless. Yet while it has no ending, it always has a beginning. There is no telling just who or when someone might start that current, but I know I have always felt it flow in every moment of these summer baseball games. You Boys of Summer inspire all of us on the other side of the white chalk lines, and hopefully we inspire you too.

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