Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
I have been delayed in writing this for a couple of reasons, I have been keeping my fingers crossed that we might be able to play together one last time this summer. But the true reason I have struggled to write this letter is that I am not ready to admit it is over.
The 2020 season is gone and there is nothing we can do to bring it back. My heart sinks when I think about this senior class and the experiences they will be missing out on. Graduation and high school baseball will, in the grand scheme of your lives, be a very small part of it. Today, however, they are a very large part of it.
I have always told you that baseball is a game that will reflect your life more than any other. The game wears on you more mentally than physically, it is here every day, not a once-a-week getaway, and every day you will have to deal with failure.
But just like in the game of baseball everything is out in front of you. You catch the ball in front of you, you throw the ball in front of you, and you hit the ball in front of you. Errors, bad hops, bad calls and mistakes are behind you and there is nothing you can do but learn from them and keep moving forward. Get to the next pitch!
Before we do that, I would like to take one more look backward and give you boys the recognition you have earned.
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The seniors of the 2020 class have a special place in my heart, like all senior classes, for reasons all their own. You all are the last senior class to have two different head coaches in this program. Your freshman year was with a great coach, Alan Edmonson, and your last three years have been with me.
Just like the last three senior classes, you boys jumped all in with how I wanted the program to run. At a time when you could have said, “we usually did this” or “it has always been done like this,” you accepted my coaching and made sure the younger players followed. For this, I will be forever grateful and humble.
You earned my respect and admiration on a daily basis. I ran you into the ground for three different hell weeks, constantly drilled you on fundamentals, made you work through dozens of situations, and demanded that you lead and encourage the younger players. I knew I could turn my back while players worked through drills and the seniors would make sure the drills were done correctly.
I saw Noah Nunez, Coltin Sons, Sean Henry and Gage Evans coach the junior varsity and C-team players every day in the outfield. They could have run through their flyball work and not said anything, or even worse, ridicule the lesser players, but they took them under their wing, were patient and made them better players.
On defensive days, Trotter Boston and Brady Lewis would run drills in the middle infield. They would work their skills while spending more time helping others. Eli Fairbanks would take the first basemen and take them through every situation he could think of.
On competition days, they would coach bases, talk to players in the dugout, and often correct mental mistakes before I could even get there. Spencer Robins worked hard with Ethan Pirtle, even though Ethan was his main competition for starting. He knew that what was best for the program was for him to get better and to make sure Ethan improved, as well. That is as selfless as it comes in sports, help the man who could take my job.
Kyle Burrow, I fully appreciate your hard work this year and your commitment to the program. You stepped in and didn’t ask for anything special as a senior, only a chance to earn you a way on the team. I am only sorry our time together was less than a year.
There is one more individual I would like to honor, a young man whose playing days were taken away by injury but wanted to stay and help the program any way he could. He took on a duty vital to the success of any program but one that comes with little recognition, the team manager.
Sadrian Serrano will go down as the best manager I have had in 13 years as a coach. He did field maintenance, kept scorebooks, ran the scoreboard, filled up water bottles, set up the field for practice, and most importantly, was a true supporter of the team.
As you young men move forward with your lives, I hope you know that I will always be one phone call or text message away if you need anything. You join the ranks of hundreds of Goddard Rockets now out in the world making their way. I hope you take the values we have tried to preach to you and keep them as your own. Commitment, hard work, leadership, humility, teamwork and integrity.
As you live your lives, I hope you continue to try and be better. Be a better husband than you were yesterday, be a better student, be a better father or be a better person. This season should be a reminder that nothing is promised in life and never take anything or anyone for granted.
You will spend much of your time in life working hard without the guarantee of success. Plan ahead and have goals, but stay focused on the process. As you have learned this year, there are many factors out of your control, all you can do is control how you approach obstacles and keep taking it one step at a time. If things don’t go your way, get to the next pitch. If you find success in life, do not become complacent, get to the next pitch, and find a way to be better.
To the juniors, sophomores, freshman and eighth-graders coming back to the program. Keep working out, keep finding a way to get better, and hone your skills. We will be back this summer and fall, and it will rest on your shoulders to carry on the traditions and expectations of the Goddard Rockets Baseball Program.
I know you can do it. I have seen what’s inside of you. I have pushed you to your physical and mental limits in order to show you that you can make it through any obstacle the game or life can throw at you. Take advantage of the opportunity you have before you, and make the most of the upcoming season.
On the days where you are tired, worn down mentally, and feel like you can’t do anymore, remember how you felt the day I told you the season was over. Remember that at any moment there are forces at work that can take it all away from you.
I will ask each and every one of you to pick a senior and dedicate the 2021 season in their honor. The bottom line of the Goddard Baseball Program is about playing for each other, past and present. That’s what having pride and tradition means.
The success of the program means that you will go forward with the target on your back and every team will endeavor to give you their best shot. You are not alone, however. Your teammates, peers, family and players that came before you will always be with you. As coach Villareal always put it, “It’s your time to answer the bell.”
Our goals for 2021 remain the same as always:
1. Team GPA of 3.0.
2. Winning season.
3. Win district.
4. Win state.
I will see you boys on the field soon enough.
Go Rockets! Baseball Leads the Way!
Gilbert R. Alvarado, Head Baseball Coach
Goddard High School
By Gilbert Alvarado
Special to RDR Sports