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.

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>>>

Weekend summary

I ate too much… exercised too little… got way too much sun and 800+ pictures to sort through.

It was the first road trip of the summer sports season – softball is officially in full swing.  Another new team for Megan this year – Ricochet.  She almost joined this team last year (and should have), but for some reason decided against it, that was a mistake.  Anyway, a pretty good showing for team Ricochet to kick off the season with a fourth place finish in the KC Sonic Invitational.

I’m pretty sure it’s Megan’s first trophy/medal in competitive softball and she was given a MVP medal in one of the pool games for a triple she hit on Saturday.  Sunday she was sick and found out what it’s like to be on the road, playing in a tournament with only nine – you just gotta suck it up.  Ricochet’s motto – “Rub some dirt on it.”  Ah, the life of an athlete.

Next weekend, both a softball and baseball tournament – can you tell it’s summer at the Atkinsons?  I’ll get the picture posted as soon as I can, hopefully later this week.

Baseball gets underway

It’s been a bit odd being on the “other” side of the fence, but honestly, it’s a welcome change and a good one… for the team and specifically for my son.  Sam’s hitting has finally returned – the old “Mud Dawg” hitting is what I’m talking about.

While mechanics are certainly important, pounding them into a kids head, so that’s all he can think about in the box, isn’t the greatest plan.  Don’t do this, don’t do that…  how about just see the ball and hit the ball, we’ll tweak things from there…  If you don’t believe you can hit, constantly reinforced from negative input, then no amount of mechanic coaching can make you hit.  That’s the philosophical spin anyway.  As for the rest, weight training, weight training and more weight training has help a ton…

The JC Freshman have two teams an A and a B team.  The A team is 2-0 while the B is 0-2, don’t worry about it B, your day is coming, just keep your heads up and work hard on improving, the rest will take care of itself.

I have about 600+ photos so far, I’ll try to get through them and post some this week.  Stay tuned.

Invested: just a glimpse

Invested: just a glimpse

One of the more poignant photos I captured this season; and one of my favorite of the tens-of-thousands I’ve taken over the years.  It’s the yin and yang of sports that plays out somewhere each and everyday.  And for those invested in the moment, it means everything.

Softball banquet – celebration

What a wonderful evening last night at the softball banquet.  From one parent to another, well done junior parents, I know it was a ton of work and in the end it was executed with the same precision the Varsity team executed throughout their season!

It was a bit of an emotional night, as most of these events are, but there was something special in the air; no doubt brought about by 8 seniors who clinched JC’s first ever state softball title. But it wasn’t all about them or the title, and they’d be the first to tell you that.  All you had to do was look around a room full of folks: teammates, managers, coaches, childhood coaches, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, administration staff and the list goes on.  It was a team effort and and extended team at that.

As I sat in the back of the room, listening to the coaches, speakers and most importantly, the players; I couldn’t help but wish I had a group of up and coming 12 year old athletes listening to this.

Teams are family, close family, important family, involved family, the type of family you rely on, the kind of family you need to achieve a large goal.  Sometimes it just happens, but many coaches and teams often work at developing it.  It’s about far more than friendship and for those teams who achieve it, the rewards are priceless.

Reliance, work ethic, focus, and the list goes on.  To achieve big things is to dream big, work hard, stay the course, and rely on one another.  Do those things, do them everyday with purpose and the reward can be yours.

Congratulations everyone, it’s been a truly spectacular ride for all of you.

Lady Jay’s Softball Photos

I finally managed to carve out a photos section on this site for the Jefferson City Lady Jays Softball teams.  Parents and players, feel free to download them as you like, if you get stuck just ask me at the games or you can email me here.

This year will be different for me… as a parent in transition, both of my kids are freshman this year and entering high school sports programs.  And my role in youth sports, as far as they’re concerned is diminishing.  It’s time for new coaching, new ideas and new opportunities, specifically, it’s time for them to step up and take on sports without the safety net or the baggage of their parents.  So for me, I’ve decided not to blog or get over involved…  instead I’m just going to silently support my kids and their teams and help them tell their story through the lens of my camera.  I intend to remain involved at some level with youth sports and will likely continue the occasional blog post when the mood strikes.  And I plan to get actively involved again, after my kids have had their moment… I think that’s how it should be and that season of change has arrived.

Go Jays!!!