By Spc. Monica K. Smith, CAB Public AffairsJune 25, 2009
Fort Stewart, Ga.- Sweat trickled from his brow as he stared down his enemy. He had beaten his opponent twice before and just needed to bring the heat one more time. He positioned himself, gave a reassuring glace at a teammate and then delivered a pitch.
"Strike three," announced the ref. The opponent knew he was beaten and returned to the dugout.
It was the final game for the Hunter Athletics, a little league team from Hunter Army Airfield. The game took place on Hunter, June 13 against the Island YMCA with Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Randolph volunteering his time to be the Hunter Athletics' coach.
"I can remember when I played as a kid and how much fun I had, and I wanted to create that experience here with these kids, especially my kid," said Chief Warrant Officer Randolph, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. "It takes a little bit of commitment but it's not as time consuming as you think. In the past, I would come out and watch my kid practice, and I decided to get out there and be a part of it."
During the season other members from Chief Warrant Officer Randolph's company came to aid in coaching. Sergeant Billy Winson and Spc. Thomas Bullock assisted by training the team's pitchers on proper pitching techniques, in addition to coaching hitting and throwing techniques.
"I enjoy teaching," said Sgt. Winson. "It's kind of like having Soldiers and watching them evolve and learn. I have things to teach, and I watch them put it into use and become better at what they're doing."
The final game ended with a 2-2 tie. However, Chief Warrant Officer Randolph said his primary goal was not winning but about teaching his team to enjoy the game.
"My biggest point to these kids was not to get wrapped up in the score but to come out and have fun," said Chief Warrant Officer Randolph. "They got to work on getting better, concentrated on working harder and building for next year. The goal was to have fun while progressing."
The learning wasn't all one-sided though. By serving as a coach, Chief Warrant Officer Randolph also learned a few lessons himself.
"I learned to be patient a little more," said Chief Warrant Officer Randolph. "Sometimes, I could feel myself pushing the kids after an error, but I had to relax. I was here telling these kids to have fun, and I had to remember to go out there and have fun also."
At the end of the season, the Hunter Athletics had a record of four wins and two losses. Chief Warrant Officer Randolph encourages other Soldiers to consider volunteering their time to help mentor kids, whether it be coaching or tutoring.
"It makes a difference to the kids just helping a little bit," said Chief Warrant Officer Randolph. "It's all volunteer and sometimes it does get frustrating, but the reward of seeing how they progressed and to see the times they are having fun makes it worth it."
"I had fun being around the kids," said Sgt. Winson. "I'm not really a kid person usually, but I had free time and I enjoyed being around them and mentoring them. It is good practice for when my kid grows up and plays ball and starts his baseball career."