It’s been a long time

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about baseball or youth sports in general. Several years ago I made a promise to myself to stand aside and keep my mouth shut as my kids entered their high school programs. That was four years ago and for the most part I stopped posting much of anything, instead I focused on supporting their teams using what I know about photography and video production.

For those of you who know me or read much of anything on this site – none of this should come as a surprise. I think parents get way too involved in youth sports, and when it comes to high school – how do I put this politely? Well, it’s time for the kids to learn how to do it “without” you.

I think for the most part I kept my promise. Admittedly I got involved a couple of times when I saw my son’s catching skills going down hill, I don’t mind telling you that was a struggle for me. I watch and waited for his technique to be corrected, but when that wasn’t happening, I knew it was time to offer some advice and point out a few things. I did that by showing him some video I had shot of him and pointing out a few things. Occasionally, offering a bit of advice on his swing, but generally trying to keep it very low key. After that he pretty much knew what to do to fix things.

All-in-all I know it was the right decision. Yes, I missed actively coaching them the way I did when they were younger, but I’m not going to college with them. For me it was more important for them to develop their own style, their own ability to correct themselves, and their own mentors who can help carry them forward. Sorta like the mother bird kicking baby out of the nest so it can learn to fly. I’m happy to say, both my kids are flying on their own these days. They no longer rely on me like they did when they were younger – which is both wonderfully fulfilling and sad at the same time.

2013 Jays Baseball Highlight Video

Some seasons seemed to go on forever, while others vanished in the blink of an eye.  And suddenly, it’s over… What started so many years ago comes to an end, which in turn, gives birth to another beginning. It’s been a ride with a group of people and kids that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And it’s been an absolute privilege to watch these kids grow and develop from a very different perspective than most – my camera.

The camera allowed me to watch intently and closely as these boys played the game.  I could see their excitement, their disappointments and their accomplishments through those long lenses and slow motion captures.  At times their expressions were obvious, occasionally quite subtle, but always honest.  What an amazing way to watch your kids grow up!

Congratulations to the 2013 team and your amazing run.  I’m so proud and thrilled for all you guys have accomplished.

Coach Dave Schreimann

Today we have to say goodbye to a brother, father, grandfather, friend, mentor and coach.  Coach Schreimann passed away earlier this week.  For the past several years I’ve had the great fortune to coach alongside Dave Schreimann and it’s been an experience I’ll carry with me always.  I learned more about baseball than I ever thought I’d know.  I learned more about coaching a group of young men than I ever expected to know.  And my son, he was touched in ways that’s just plain difficult to explain.

Coach always set the bar high and he expected you to reach it.  If you screwed up, you’d hear about it.  If you succeeded, you’d hear about it. And, if you gave it your all… he’d pull you aside and praise you for your effort. He did what good coaches do every day – motivated kids to be better than they think they are.

For me, I occasionally got to spend time with Dave when he wasn’t in coach mode…  Whether on the road to BC for a coaches meeting (boy he sure loved those “coaches meeting”) – after practice – in between games or outside of baseball altogether, he loved the game and he especially loved the boys he coached.

Thanks Coach!  Thanks for all your time, effort and dedication.  Thank you for teaching us.  Thank you for your impact on our boys and being a part of our family.  Best of luck and Godspeed, you’ll be missed.

Jays Slideshow Photos

2011 Jays Baseball Slideshow from Phil Atkinson on Vimeo.

Parents, you’ll find the 2011 Jays photos in the Gallery. The photos are free for you to download and use as you wish. Simply look through the various thumbnail photos and when you find one you want, click on it. It will load a slightly larger version of the photo and off to the upper right you’ll see an icon that looks like a floppy drive. Click on the floppy drive icon and that should prompt you to download the full size version of the photo. Repeat as often as you wish. and if you get lost, feel free to contact me.

Knee deep

It comes around twice a year, once in the fall and once in late spring… it’s the big push.  Over the past month or so I’ve captured thousands of photos, hours of video and now it’s crunch time.  The baseball banquet is just around the corner and everybody needs pictures, videos, CDs, sounds systems, and the list goes on and on.

This year I managed to put together a baseball trailer in addition to the usual photo slide show.  The trailer is something I wanted to do for the softball team last year, but I just ran out of time, not to mention good video footage and ideas – so I owe them one.  I’m fairly happy with it – as with most things I do, I can only see all the things wrong with it, what I’d do differently, if only I had endless time and no need for sleep.  This little trailer experiment has gotten me pretty jazzed about video and it’s story telling ability.  No doubt video is a powerful tool, but it’s also so much more complicated than stills…  Anyway, sounds like I’m complaining, so I’d better stop… it’s been a fun project and now I just need to get the slide show under wraps and get folks a bunch of pictures.

I’ll share the video here after the 20th…

2011 Jays Baseball Photos

It’s been awhile coming, but you should know by now that things get pretty crazy this time of year for me… anyway, I’ve sorted through about 3000 baseball photos so far and have posted a few in the gallery.  As always, you’re welcome to download and print the files yourself or you can print them via Digibug and have them delivered to your home.

Here’s the link to the gallery>>>

Busy April

It’s been a busy month… P90x as usual.

I overhauled the ole ’70 GTO.  High compression heads, aggressive cam and everything that goes with it.  The car just screams now – not a chance it’ll hook up.

Baseball galore, practice and games.  And summer softball is getting underway too.

Lady Jays Pancake breakfast earlier in the month and Sheri is busy putting together the Jays Baseball Banquet.  Not much has spilled onto my plate, but I got a few extra to-do out of the deal.  She’s doing all the hard work along with Joyce.

And finally, I built two more websites this month to boot.  The Lady Jays Softball got a new site: and late today we just launched a new website for Jay’s Baseball:, still a little work in progress.  Yes – they like black.

Oh yeah – I went to work in between all this too.  Yeah, I’m whining, but honestly, I like busy.