"The home of hometown heroes"

Harrell Will Bring Emotion to Bellevue Baseball

By Mike Hastings
Publisher


I was invited to attend a dinner this week at the American Legion Post 5 to help kickoff the 2016 Warrior baseball season, and to meet their new head coach Randy Harrell.  
Having attended many events like this, a lot of what I saw was expected: the spaghetti was good, the drinks were cold and the jokes were so-so.

When the new coach was introduced, he started off like most coaches, thanking everyone, told a couple more so-so jokes and quoted Vince Lombardi.

What happened next, though, I have to admit I never saw before.  

The coach started to tell a story about a little boy who loved baseball.  He grew up on a farm where he learned to play.  I started to picture a scene from The Natural.

Now if you’ve ever read the book, The Natural, you know it’s quite different than the movie.  And so was the coach’s story quite different than what I expected.

I won’t tell you all the details, perhaps the coach will share them with you some day.  What I will share though, is that the story he told was a tragedy that turned into a triumph.  It was a story of disappointment and rejuvenation.  It was a story of sadness and joy.  It was a story of shameless behavior, and forgiveness and salvation.  It was a true story.

When it was over, the coach told everyone what I had somehow knew - he was the little boy.  I saw some very tough vets shed tears.  At that moment, I knew the Warriors had a terrific new coach.

“Randy exemplifies what I feel a coach should be,” said Rob Kohls, a Post 5 member and manager of the Warriors. 

“Whether it’s high school, college or little league, you have to have heart to make things happen.  You have to care about the kids and care about their dreams.  I thought Randy was the best for our program and I wholeheartedly trust him with my son’s career.”

I believe most people, this writer included, have done things, and faced things in the past that they wish they could forget.  But sometimes, forgetting is not what makes you stronger.

“I think everyone has past discretions in their life,” Kohls said.  “It’s how you overcome them that matters.  These hardships that occur can either have a positive or negative effect,” he said.

“When you’re ready to say you’ve made mistakes, to admit it and grow from it.  Once you decide you want to do better, you can put those mistakes behind you.  That’s integrity,” Kohls said.

The coach promised those in attendance that his team will play with emotion this year.  With Randy Harrell at the helm, I have no doubt of that, or that they will win and grow as ballplayers.  But more importantly, they will grow as men.