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Tournaments | Story | 6/16/2019

A baseball-filled Father's Day

Cory Van Dyke        
Photo: Lawson Copeland (Perfect Game)
MARIETTA, Ga. -- Baseball has stitched fathers and sons together for decades. It’s the bridge that connects the relationship between the two, one that’s passed down from generation to generation.

For some, there’s no greater way for a father to make memories with their son than at a baseball field. At the 2019 PG 10u World Series, that’s certainly the case.

And on Father’s Day 2019, fathers are filling the memory bank with their sons at East Cobb Complex as they coach them in the game that gives so much more back than we put into it. 

“I couldn’t think of anything better,” said coach George Whittle of the Roswell Green Hornets 10u. “When I woke up this morning and it was Father’s Day, I wanted to spend it at the park with my boys. I know the other coaches and the other fans did too.”

10 year old boys sometimes have a way with words that can’t be taught, but it’s only learned through those special father-son bonds.

“This is the first time I’ve been at the field on Father’s Day with my son,” said Derek Copeland, general manager of Park Sharon Nationals 10u Pirro. “Absolutely one of the most special Father’s Day. This morning my son said, ‘I didn’t get you a card. What do you want for Father’s Day?’ I said just go out there and play hard. That’s what we’re doing.

“It’s lifetime memories. This is something that we’ll never forget.”

Oftentimes, baseball offers an outlet for fathers to live vicariously through their sons. Blood runs thicker than water, and these fathers exhibit just that by sacrificing their own world for the betterment of their sons on the field.

“It’s special being out here with him,” said coach Jason Roesch of the Ohio Nationals 10u. “I really didn’t get to do it as a kid with my dad, so it’s great doing it with my kid… It’ll carry on to when he has kids. It’s such a special bond with us.”

“It’s always nice to coach your own son,” coach Nick Steht of Germantown Giants 10u said. “But just to see these guys enjoying the game the way that we coaches did, that’s what is most special about it.”

Many of these fathers and coaches know just how fast these kids grow up. One day they’re playing in the 10u World Series and in a blink they’ll be off to college and off into the real world.

“It’s a special moment because these times are so short-lived,” said coach Jeff Anthony of Rawlings Cobb 10u. “To have a day that’s just dedicated to fathers and sons and to be able to spend time with them really means a lot. It’s pretty special.”

Baseball truly is a barometer for life. Some of those greatest life lessons are preached between the lines on a diamond. 

It’s the only sport where you can fail two out of every three times and still be considered a hall-of-famer, but it’s still more than that. Baseball doesn’t discriminate for age. It can teach the 10-year-old kid, the 75-year-old grandfather, and everyone else in between.

“It means a lot when it’s your son,” said coach John Mastrogianakis of the East Cobb Astros 10u Gold. “We treat them the hardest, but it’s a good bonding experience as well.

“There’s good days and then there’s bad days. Life can’t be perfect all the time where you can give your kid everything they want. Sometimes they’re going to fail. That’s a good lesson not only for them, but for fathers and coaches as well.”

Most of these players have never competed in a tournament quite like the Perfect Game 10u World Series. In the moment, most of the kids won’t truly realize the magnitude of what they’ve gone through this week and on this Father’s Day.

“It’s awesome,” said coach Chris Hight of eXposure Elite. “Just having a son that plays ball and being able to be with him on Father’s Day is truly a great experience. 

“There’s no stage bigger than this. Just soak it up and have fun and compete. The wins and the losses, they’ll happen.”

It’s an ode to the fathers whose roles shift from coach, protector, and best friend to their sons on a daily basis. The ones who find the strongest connection with their son on a baseball field.

Years down the road these 10 year olds will recall just how special this week has been. They’ll see the pictures, come across the pins, or a tournament t-shirt and they’ll have one main person to relive it with: their father. 

“When he gets older, he’s going to say, ‘Hey, my dad was there for me all the time’ through baseball or whatever it was,” said coach Alfredo Tavarez of Elite Squad National. “The best thing in the world is to come out here and play. 10 years from now, 20 years from now, win or lose, it’ll be, ‘Hey dad, we were out there. Remember in 2019 when we were playing at the Perfect Game World Series?’”
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