Coach Is Dead

Last night our coach died in a car accident. He was 57 years old. Today we played a double header and before we left we all got together as a team and heard the news, we decided to play because we knew it’s what he’d want for us to go out and play like men.

We didn’t win but we played our hearts out and gave it our all. I have his name written on the bottom of my caps now. I hit a meaningless RBI single early in the first game and when I got to first I just bawled my eyes out because I actually drove the ball the other way with authority, something he has tried to teach me to do for 3 years.

He was more than just a coach to me, he was like a grandfatherly figure to me. I talked to him all the time about baseball and life. He was also more than a baseball coach he taught me and hopefully our whole team some life lessons.

Two days ago I had a 2 hour talk with him after our practice about baseball and I am glad the last time I spoke with him ended on a positive note. He told me he wished more people had my work ethic and how he admires self made players like myself. Now that he’s gone that really touches me that he would say that to me.

I’ve been remembering all the great times I had with him and I just know I’m gonna miss that man.

Rest In Peace Rossco I will miss you.

Pustulio said,

This is a great tribute to your coach. It’s obvious that your coach realized the responsibility he had and the opportunity to help guide young lives in the right direction. Please share this with his surviving family because it will help in their grieving process.

If I were your coach, looking down from upstairs…I’d also be glad I took the time to have that talk with you. He passed on something really important to you that you can use as motivation for your life’s experiences. In turn you can reach out to other people the way he did for you and in this way he still lives and influences others. His physical body is gone but his soul, his thoughts, his approach to life, everything that made coach who he was…is still here!

I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

I do, however, want to let you know that your coach will always be with you. You see, a little bit of him is now a big part of you. Your window on the world is a bit larger, your ability to reason and make decisions is a bit wiser, and your deep feelings for what’s right and the loss that you feel is so human - all thanks to the way that man touched your life.

However, here’s something that you might want to consider, just to make a bit of this world a little better - as this man did for you, consider being what that man was - a coach. You have it in you. You seem to have the passion of understanding how to be meaningful and sincere.

Give it some thought.

Again, I am very sorry for your loss.

Coach Baker.

Thank you guys, it’s been an emotional day I can’t think of better timing for him and me to have the talk that we did.

Pustulio,

Sorry to hear about your coach. I can’t add much to what Dino and Coach Baker said. But I will say that you probably don’t realize right now all of the things that your coach taught you. But you will discover them as you go through life. He taught you more than you realize.

-Roger

Really sorry to hear about your coach, P. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your teammates.

I just lost my Grandpa Ellis two weeks ago. He was one of my heroes. It stings, but gets better. Let me know if I can help in any way.

I think this actually hit me harder than when my grandpa passes away. I think it had more to do with the shock of him dying in a car accident, whereas I had time to prepare myself when my grandpa died of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I’m starting to settle down, if the weather isn’t too bad I’m supposed to pitch today.

Pustulio…I just want to say that I too am very sorry for your loss.
On June 15, 1992, the baseball world lost Ed Lopat, just a few days short of what would have been his 74th birthday. The cause—a recurrence of pancreatic cancer. When I heard the news I was shocked, and for a long time I couldn’t get over it, because I kept thinking about the few years I had known him and about what an absolutely incredible pitching coach he had been for me. Now, some nineteen years have passed, but I still think about him—about that fateful day in 1951 when I asked him about the slider and his response was to draw me aside and show me how to throw a good one—about the four years that followed, his kindness and patience, his willingness to share with me what he knew about pitching (a lot) and how he was ready and willing to take me in hand, work with me and help me become a better pitcher than I had been before. (Not to mention, what he always did to the Cleveland Indians!) I think about the “curbstone consultations” we had, discussing various aspects of strategic pitching, and how he told me about getting inside batters’ heads to throw their timing and their thinking off, not to mention the way he would get inside my head to help me explore my thinking on the mound. And the time when I was facing what had been a nightmare but what threatened to turn into something all too real, and how he introduced me to a psychological strategy I had never even suspected he knew anything about and went right after the problem and knocked it out of commission and restored my confidence in the process…Ed Lopat was more than a pitching coach; he was a good friend and ally, and what I learned from him about being a successful snake-jazzer was nothing short of priceless. For this I will always remember him.
Pustulio, you were similarly very fortunate to have someone like that, a coach who was really more than just a baseball coach—he was what we call a first-class “mensch”, a fine, upstanding human being. May you always remember this about him. May he rest in peace, and in time to come may the agony of the situation fade—if not altogether disappear, because we never really forget—and you become all the better for having known and worked with him. 8)

One thing I will always admire about him is his dedication to the team and how much he cared about his players. He once turned down front row Yankees vs. Red Sox tickets behind home plate for us, he wouldn’t miss the game even though it was non-conference. Especially considering the Yankee fan he was I was glad that he cared that much about us, to turn down seats like that.

He coached the Evanston Outlaws for 27 years. The other coaches in the state were really upset too, as long as he’s been around it must have hit them hard. When we went to that tournament to play our first two games yesterday we were greated by the coach of the host team and he was in tears as were several of the other coaches that were there.