I want to recognize Chris Van Ness as a candidate for the Honour Roll. Chris has worked so hard to pass on his knowledge and skills to the fine group of young men (13U (Peewee) Athletics) that he his coaching. Like every good coach he comes to the games and practices with a very positive attitude and one that is very contagious. He hauls the heavy equipment bag around to and from every game and practice. He is always the last person to leave the diamond. He is always prepared having the batting line up and positioning done before he comes to the field. He is a great teacher with an obvious understanding of the sport that is well beyond the basic fundamentals. All things that you would expect from any good coach.
But what really makes Chris special is the following:
- He has always stressed two rules—have fun and try your best. There is not one player on the team that is not living by this mantra. The kids are eating up the fun and there is no better way to ensure that they all return to play again. When one player has gotten on the case of another player, Chris has always stepped in to remind people that no one is perfect. As long as we are all trying our best, mistakes will still happen. It’s all part of a learning process.
- Chris is not all about winning. In every game he lets at least 4-5 individuals pitch and or catch. It is done fair and open. Unlike other teams who only let two pitchers pitch at the very most. Chris also allows individuals who have not played before (we have four on the team) to experiment, playing different positions throughout the game regardless of the score. Even when the game has been a nail biter, Chris has thought nothing of letting an inexperienced player set up at shortstop. This goes a long way in building their self-confidence and not making them feel that they are being hidden in a lesser role. It is very obvious that Chris believes that winning is nice if it happens but now a necessity. Player development is the goal, winning is a perk. In many games he has offered verbal support to struggling pitchers, telling them to believe in what they are doing and offering tips. There is no better motivator than Chris.
- He can sense the weaker players and has spent a lot of time working with them one on one, offering advice, demonstrations and encouragement. It takes a lot of work to get these kids to improve. One player swung the bat for the first time this entire season all because of Chris.
- He has not missed one game or practice. Even when his own son has had other commitments, Chris has always showed up. He is a very dedicated and committed to his role as coach.
I am in awe of what Chris has brought to this team and would like to see him recognized for all his hard efforts.