My-TurnThanks to LBHS baseball team for extraordinary season

By Don Calvert

We live in an era when our world can spin way too fast and even out of control at times. So it is nothing short of priceless when a wonderful event occurs that makes the world stand still for those lucky enough to be immersed in that event. I want to thank each of you 13 fine young men on our 2013 Liberty Bell High School Mountain Lion baseball team for giving me and many others that gift of suspending time, not once, not twice but three times in this remarkable season.

Halfway through the season at Lake Roosevelt, the world stopped for the first time when you refused to concede to our archrival in an 11-inning contest that was highlighted by a spectacular game-saving catch. In that test of perseverance, you discovered how to control your focus, your effort, your attitude and your responsibilities. Those four vital cornerstones continued to serve you well throughout an unprecedented 20-game winning streak.

The world stalled again when a perfectly executed and gutsy walk-off suicide squeeze clenched the district championship against a favored Goliath. The final breathtaking moment was pure determination. In the confines of pristine Avista Stadium in Spokane, you came from behind to defeat our old boogeyman, Asotin. You finished on the confidence of a left arm never tested at that level and the stubborn, magnificent effort on a final play that left the sole senior among you bloody and triumphant as we snatched the regional championship.

These were not the solitary achievements of any single player. It took all 13 of you to prepare this team to be ready to shine when shining was needed. No one can ever take that away from any of you. For the rest of our lives, whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, disappointed or just down for whatever reason, all you have to do is close your eyes and see each of your teammates’ faces in those three miraculous moments to dial in some perspective and raise your spirits. What an incredible thing to have in your pockets.

You each have encased in you the potential to achieve excellence as individuals and as a collaborative group. To me, the true secret to coaching is figuring out a way to help you motivate yourselves to unleash and realize that excellence, to conquer your deepest fear and become powerful beyond measure. I would hope that my coaching staff and I figure better with each team we guide, but the excellence has to come from you. It’s truly heartwarming that you guys find immense joy in practicing with, competing and accomplishing with each other. You are brothers who support and respect each other like none I personally have ever witnessed. You are a very lucky family.

We are a small school tucked away in a spectacular valley in the shadow of the Cascades. We’re supposed to excel at Nordic and alpine skiing, biking and trail running, not America’s pastime. Apparently, somebody forgot to inform you. You dared to knock on the door of perfection and came up a little short. You have set a bar that is high but you believe that the bar belongs to you and that you will reach it. As you continue to master our four cornerstones, you and those that follow you will be knocking on perfection’s door again next year and in the years to follow. That’s a remarkable legacy. Be proud of it.

I love you young gentlemen for a lot of reasons but the most important one is that you work very hard not to blink. No matter what happens in that seventh fall, you get up an eighth time. You are relaxed, humble and grateful. You displayed that when you addressed the hundred-plus kids at Hoover Elementary School in Yakima. Your words and actions about commitment, trust, teamwork and the importance of education will make a difference in those kids’ lives. You paid it forward with class and helped us remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths that we take but by the moments that take our breath away. We are still trying to catch our breath with mile-wide smiles on our faces.

Thank you Andrew, for four memorable years of blood, sweat and tears as well as smiles, fist pumps and, yes Asotin, even hugs. You are a big part of what we achieve moving forward. Thank you gentlemen for getting better every day and winning so very many battles. Together you roared. Now, let’s go do it again.

 

Don Calvert is head coach of the Liberty Bell baseball team. He also thanks assistant coaches Ralph Abate and Brent Walker.

 

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