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Local youth coach has given his time to our kids. Now, federal employees can give their time to him.
Coach Billy Greer runs drills with a young player's help before a game in spring 2005.
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By RICHARD AMRHINE
We got a call telling us our coach would be Billy Greer, and the team would be the Spotsylvania Royals. Subsequent calls would fill us in on the practice schedule and other basic information. We liked the open line of communication.
From the beginning, we could tell that some of these 9- and 10-year-old boys had a bit more experience and skill than others. But the Babe Ruth organization, and Coach Billy, assured all parents that their kids would get significant playing time.
Once the practices and the games began, a couple of things became apparent. First, Coach Billy knows how to coach. He runs great practices, is always encouraging to the kids, and rewards effort as well as success. He knows how to bring out the best in any child who's willing to give his or her best.
Somehow, he manages to do this while holding down his federal government job at Fort Belvoir.
Second, it was apparent that my son was going to have to earn more than minimal playing time. He wasn't in the starting lineup at first, but he tried hard when Coach Billy called on him. After a few games he even received a game ball--not because he had outperformed his teammates, but because he had raised his own level of play.
Coach Billy has a reason for everything he does. Once he sees a kid's desire to play, he knows how to nurture that kid's ability.
Grown-ups call it "positive reinforcement." A young player simply feels good about himself, and wants to do still better next time.
As the season progressed, so did my son. He became a starter, getting his hits, laying down bunts, and stealing bases. After he made a fine, game-ending catch in right field, I remember in particular the smile on Coach Billy's face. It was one of those I-knew-he-could-do-it expressions. And it was genuine.
The Royals went 11-1 that season, and won the regular season championship.
And here's a bonus: We learned later that Coach Billy had been called out of town the day of the draft. Aside from a couple of players he knew to put in for, such as his own son, he was left with kids the other coaches hadn't chosen. From that, he built a championship team.