I played baseball at Lipscomb 1992-1995. My first two years were a wreck, i.e. lousy batting averages and lots of errors as a SS and 3B. Coach Dugan moves me to OF for last two years which ended up being better for the team and I did much better personally (better batting averages, run production, defense, etc.). Even during the tough first two years, Coach Meyer encouraged me occasionally, told me to keep chopping wood. Most people know Coach Meyer was a fine college baseball player and kept an interest in the game.
We were a little short on pitching my junior year and Coach Dugan used me as a spot starter to help the team. Early in the season I pitched a one-hit shutout against a northern team who hadn’t even practiced outside yet. After the game, I’m in the bathroom in the hallway right outside the training room and Coach Meyer walks in. I knew he had seen the game that day because he was one of about 8 fans in the stands. I’m thinking Coach Meyer is gonna say something encouraging about the game, right? So we’re standing at the urinals and he says to me very directly, “Skelton, I didn’t know you could pitch.” I say, “yes sir, I pitched some in high school.” And then Coach Meyer asks, “Does Coach Dugan still have you guys put the net out in front of home plate during batting practice to protect the grass?” Totally random, right? I say “yes sir, he does.” Coach Meyer says, “That’s smart. Dugan knows what he’s doing.” And then he zips up and walks out. End of conversation.
Was it just a totally random observation from Coach Meyer? Maybe.
Was I selfishly hoping Coach Meyer would compliment my performance? Definitely.
Was there some wisdom being imparted from him? No doubt. Do what you’re asked to do to help the team without seeking personal praise. Do your job. Trust your coach because he trusts you. And don’t forget to take care of the little things (like putting the net out in front of home plate during batting practice).
As the years have passed, I realize how truly fortunate I was to play for Coach Dugan. And also how fortunate we were to have Coach Meyer.
– Bryan Skelton