By Brian Giles
A new baseball and a new glove- $50.
A new pair of cleats and a new bat- $150.
Beating your county rival in tournament play- priceless.
There are times in every person's life when you just fill up with pride. You want to step back and freeze time and enjoy the moment just a little longer. These are the moments as a player that you remember a lifetime. For a parent, it is a moment of pride, seeing your child victorious. For a community it is an example of teamwork and what can be accomplished when we work together.
There is a lot of hard work that goes into teambuilding. What makes a team different? Is it the amount of work that goes into practice or is it the dedication of the players to settle for nothing less than victory. What separates the great teams from the not-so-great teams?
First and foremost to have a great team you've got to have talented players. These are the people who are willing to invest the time and work as a team. With these players you must keep egos in check. A team must understand that there are no superstars. Take away any one position on the field you will get beat like a drum. Respect each player on the team and understand that each person's contribution will be different.
Second, you have to have good leadership to be successful. A good coach is crucial to a team. You can have all the best players but without someone to pull it all together you will never get out of the dugout.
Third, you must have fan/community support. It goes a long way when you have a strong backing, you feel you have support in the toughest situations. There is someone there to cheer you on and encourage you to keep fighting.
There have been a lot of teams with mediocre talent that excelled because of leadership and backing of tremendous fans. One example would be the 1987 Minnesota Twins who hold the worst season record for any team to ever win the World Series. The reason the Twins excelled was because of home field advantage, they simply did not lose in front of their hometown fans. That season the Twins had the best home record in Major League Baseball with a record of 56-25. Almost every player on the 1987 Twins team attributed this record to the support of the Twins fans.
The 2003 Atmore 15-year-old All-Stars already have something to be proud of. They have come together as a team in a short period of time and have always displayed a winning attitude. Regardless of the outcome of the district tournament, whether they come up short or go all the way, they will be remembered for their outstanding sportsmanship and teamwork. The have displayed all of the ingredients that it takes to be a championship team. They have had the support of the Atmore community.
It is important to remember one thing as this season comes to an end; baseball is a game and at this level all of the players and teams are winners. The parents of the Atmore players have been passionate about their teams, but have never crossed the line of poor sportsmanship.
A wise man once said; It's not if you win or lose, it is how you play the game. The teams of Atmore have played the game well.
Brian Giles is publisher of the Atmore Advance and may be reached at 368-2123.