ROCKFORD (WTVO) – Picture this, hundreds of kids each summer take to the field to keep them busy while schools out and as you know tensions in baseball can run high. Today was a way of saying thanks to the volunteers who play one of the most important roles: the coaches.
“Everything that our coaches do is out of the generosity of their own time, money and their emotions to give back to our kids so they can have a good spring and summer of baseball.” Said Ryan Rydell, the President of Stateline Baseball and part of the Raycom team.
There were 40 youth baseball teams, with 500 kids, but it’s the 150 coaches who deserve appreciation. Sunday afternoon, they got it on the mound as they faced off head to head against the Rockford Police Department for the annual Coaches Clincher Tournament. But who was ready to play ball?
“It’s pretty fun to see some of these coaches lay out and try to make a play and fail, just as much as the kids on their team miss that play or make and error and sometimes they hit a home run and everybody celebrates.” Said Rydell.
“A lot of us are former coaches or currently coaches for kids but we all played sports our whole lives and like the competition but it’s tough playing a lot of coaches, they know a lot of things.” Said Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea, “for the officers that are here, it’s fun every year, not to mention we won a couple of years so it’s fun.”
With RPD taking this coveted trophy home the last three years. What’s their game plan to win year 4?
“We come out here with a plan: We just want to win, that’s all we want to do. But win or lose it’s a great time.” Explained Chief O’Shea.
Proceeds go towards the Greg Lindmark Foundation to counsel to first responders, but they say a good game of baseball helps with relieve stress for the adults and teaches teamwork for the young players.
“It shows their human side to everybody around instead of just the police car or the vest or the badge that they’re wearing everyday. You can’t let your job define you. They’re human beings. Yes they’re police officers but they’re human with families also.” Said Brad Lindmark, President of the Greg Lindmark Foundation.
“Kids need to be a part of something. They need to feel like they are a part of something. They need to try, they need to fail, they need to learn from that failure and sports offer an opportunity to make all of that happen.” Said Rydell.
For the first time in 3 years, the coaches team walked away with a win in the final round.