Happy Monday! This weekend sparked a great memory — the three year anniversary of when I embarked on one of the biggest physical (and mental) challenges of my life, running the Marine Corps Marathon. My time was respectable for a first time marathon runner (or so I’m told), but my goal was to finish and the biggest metric was to be able to walk the next day.
This past non-running weekend, I was fortunate to watch both the oldest and youngest Koa Travel Baseball Teams play. On Saturday I watched Koa’s Showcase team and Sunday the 9U squad. These high school seniors are twice the age of the 9U players, but the parallels are too similar not to share the story and each team has had a marathon, so to speak, of their own!
Our 2013 Koa Showcase team came together from a tryout in the spring of 2008, and competed for the first time in the fall of 2008 as a 14U team. The team has remained mostly intact over the years, and has had an interesting journey. They won games, got blown out, lost tournament games, won tournament games, and had players miss games because they ate too much boardwalk candy. During their final summer season with Koa, these boys embarked on the “college recruiting” aspect of baseball. As a team they went from Atlanta, to New Jersey and on to Philadelphia, then ended their summer playing in Long Island, NY in an individual showcase. So far, this group has six players committed to play college baseball to the following schools: Yale, Emory, Macalister, Amherst, Lafayette, and Johns Hopkins.
Watching these boys go from the uncertainty of not making their HS team, to becoming impact players at the Varsity level, and now as future college players has been special for me. I hope everyone from the 2014 graduating class remembers their Koa experience, and won’t forget the friends and mentors they have met along the way.
As for the 9Us, their story is much shorter — this fall is the team’s first season. The season started with 12 individuals, but by the end of the season the players had formed a team bond and really started to learn the game! Yesterday in their last double header of the season they were one base hit away from beating a team that slaughtered them by over 20 runs in the first week of the season.
I am proud of the progress these boys made in just 9 short weeks; their hard work, and dedication to the travel program is why they improved. The learning curve for the first season of travel baseball is gigantic. I’m glad things are becoming more consistent and it will be fun to watch this team’s baseball marathon.