I received an assignment from the owner of UnFettered Athletics, to update the “What’s New?” page on our website. Doing so forces me to reflect on where we are at, where we’ve come from, and where were going. In order to speak of what is new; what is present, it is important to understand the past and the future as well. I believe one of the most impactful ways we can make a difference is sharing our story. This is a big part of our story; making a difference. I won’t rehash what is under the “Our Story” tab but, it is exciting to see our growth.
A year ago we had 3 baseball teams with 33 kids. We currently have 51 kids on four teams from tee ball to 12U. All 51 kids are previous Hustlers, siblings, or word of mouth referrals. We’ve played some games with our two older teams, although we may have had more rainouts at this point. Our machine pitch and tee ball teams are just starting practices. From where we are now, we have very promising seasons ahead of us. It is always fun to figure out what areas we are strong in and what areas need improvement. More fun yet is watching the growth.
It can be a challenge to coach so many different kids, at different ages, with different skill levels, and different personalities. We love the challenge and feel humbled that we’ve been entrusted with it. It is a joy to see how everyone responds to each other. Our ministry is not just to children but to families. Along with 51 players, we have 9-14 assistant coaches, 1 official bookkeeper, several junior coaches, and numerous parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives. One of the best parts of what we do is the relationships we build with all of these people.
I love the hellos and hugs I get from siblings (usually sisters) and the mutual understanding from parents and grandparents that they will speak more with Crystal than me. I love watching our assistants grow into their roles and take on more responsibility, especially as we began to play multiple games at multiple locations on one night. I love the stories I hear of the impact we’ve had on the kids. One parent, who is not in baseball with us, asked when we would have spring football because the league they’re in is…interesting. They had to go to the park after practice because it wasn’t as tough as Coach Fetter’s. Another story I heard is that a player wore his Hustlemania uniform shirt to his recorder recital. Another player told his friend who lost the video game they were playing “There’s Winning and There’s Learning.” This is why we do what we do.
We struggle at times because while other baseball teams are beginning practices we are still in the middle of basketball season with 6 teams. We didn’t do early bird basketball like other teams because we were coaching 9 football teams. I’d love to see more competitiveness and winning on the score board from our teams. But, we have to remember our purpose and mission. Winning is our third goal because the first two are more important. If we have fun and get better then we are winning. We don’t coach sports; We coach kids.
P.S. While we are entrenched in baseball right now, we are working behind the scenes to prepare for our second UnFettered Flag Football season. Keep in mind that we will have a football league and would like to double what we had last year. Thank you for all your support and referrals.