A Team Player

Published 12:31 pm Monday, July 25, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
(Editor's note: This is the 10th in a series of 17 candid interviews with managers of Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball. The interviews will appear each Wednesday and Sunday through mid-August.)
Throughout life, whether it be in the business world, in houses of worship, in clubs, or on sports teams, individuals have to work within the framework of a team to succeed.
In a society where the individual is often glorified, teamwork seems to have become lost on some youth in our nation.
But Tommy Smith, manager of the Chuck Stevens Automotive Cubs and the Cal Ripken 8-year-old All Stars, believes that young men should embrace the concept of teamwork.
"On the first day of practice, we have our first team meeting," Smith said. "I huddle them together and tell them that everyone is on my team for a reason, and everyone will serve some sort of purpose on this team. I teach fundamentals of the game to go along with a real team spirit. I think playing as a team is a fundamental of the game. It's a team game. You aren't going to win a whole lot with two or three guys doing everything for you. Not consistently, at least."
Smith has three children, Logan, 11, and twins Coby and Tanner, 8. He is employed as a concrete superintendent
"I used to own my own business," he said. "I found out I could do better working for someone else. I work throughout the Southeast."
With a hectic work schedule, Smith has found little time for hobbies outside of spending time with his three boys.
"I play softball some," he said. "I used to get paid to play it, but I'm not into that anymore. I like sometimes just to spend time with the kids. Other than that I don't really have any time for hobbies. I was helping out with the advanced team, but the new job took up too much time and I got burned out on it. All my kids do is play ball, so I spend time with them with that."
Smith, who was still dirty from a long day of work in Mobile Thursday, also displays his team concept with his workers.
"I like to get in there and work with them," he said. "I'm not one of those superintendents who lets everyone else handle everything."
And that team concept is displayed perfectly on the baseball field.
"I tell the guys, it's great to win, but the bigger lessons are learned when you lose," he said. "If a team plays better than you did, you take your hat off to them. If I can see a team come through and really play together I feel like I've done my job."

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