Today I have the honor and sadness of writing the final Smyrna Bugs post.  Yesterday they ended their six-year run as a travel baseball team.  It all began in the spring of 2006 with a dream of Coach Chris to have a championship travel team.  The first year’s sponsor was a pest control company from Nashville, Tennessee who used to sponsor Chris’s travel softball team.  After the Bugs won the state championship that year the coaches and parents agreed to keep the name.It would become a name, a team, a family that is recognized across the state for year after year the Smyrna Bugs were a team “to be reckoned with”.   And it will remain a name to be talked about not just for years to come, but generations to come.

The Bugs earned many tournament championships and three state championships.  They could scratch out wins or dominate games.  They would cheer together in the dugout and come together in a loss. They have had opportunities to celebrate the wins and always learn a lesson or two in the losses.  They watched Coach Chris, Pete, Eddie, Wes and David call some great plays and make some mistakes.  They learned how to pick each other up as well as stand strong for each other in times of struggle.

I will always remember some of the yells from the dugout or coaches box: come on six, stay on the bag, FOUR, two-two-two, who left their Gatorade? hit your cut, where’s your hat, hold your head up, and one of our all-time favorites, STACKKKKK. Then there were the pool parties, the skull cap, the sunflower seeds of many flavors, the dented Worth bats, dusty trophies, lost belts, dirty hats and dirty pants.

It is an honor to be part of the Bugs family.  Many things have happened over this six years: births of babies, funerals of family members, broken bones, broken hearts, baptisms, hours of batting practice and winter workouts in the gym.  From home run hitters to brand new pitchers, new bats, new gloves, outgrowing the red and black “clown” pants, and ever increasing shoe sizes.  Coaches yelling, cheering, encouraging, teaching and sharing life lessons; Coaches praying before and after games, to players stopping us from taking the field until one of them could pray and another lead the cheer.

In my 40 plus years of being around baseball teams I have not seen many coaching staffs who would call each player “their own child” or show emotion in front of the players as they shared in the closing huddle.  The Smyrna Bugs were about much more than winning.  We were about family.  Decisions were not always in the best interest of winning a game, but were always in the best interest of the players and families.  The season ended with a tournament where the players were able to hear one of their favorite announcements: “Guys, go play your favorite position.”

Today I know the sun will burn bright, but it will never burn as bright as the place in our hearts reserved for:  The Smyrna Bugs.

To:

Bryce #8  1B, P                            Alex #11   2B, SS                        Gresham #6   SS, P

Chase #18   C, P, 1B, 3B            Justin #2   3B, P, 2B, SS           Brandon #10   C, P, 3B

Aaron #5   P, OF, 1B                   Patrick #9   3B, 2B, P               Dayton #3   OF, P

Steven #23   CF                           Dylan #1   OF, P

…and each of their families…

Thanks for the memories!!

 

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