On a cold, windy afternoon and with scattered rain showers embarking on the area, the Portsmouth Trojan Baseball team sacrificed their Saturday and their personal comfort to clean up the Portsmouth Little League fields as the dawn of a new season sits on the horizon.
Portsmouth Little League President, Bubba Webb, is grateful for the time and energy the Trojans have donated to the little league.
“It’s tremendous for us,” Webb said. “These fields are hard to keep up with. It’s a big facility down here. I’m just grateful for them to come down and do this for us. It’s a tremendous help for us.”
Webb realized that most of the Trojan players had sentimental attachments to the little league fields, since most of them began their careers on those same fields.
“It’s great for these guys, as young men, to give back to the community,” Webb said. “It’s great to see them down here, giving back. A lot of these guys played here and I know it means a lot to them. I know once you get older, they’ve got bigger and better things on their mind, but this is where is started for most of them.
“They all went through the fields at different levels and at the end of the day, I think they’ll all be proud of their efforts.”
One of those players, senior Zach DeLotell realizes the importance of giving back to the community, especially by taking care of the same fields he once utilized as a kid.
“I think it’s a cool thing we’re doing this because we grew up on these fields,” DeLotell said. “It’s fun to be back on them and it’s nice to bring our team together because we’re a young team this year, and we’re just trying to get everybody on the same page. So I think it’s a really good thing for everybody to be out here.”
Fellow teammate Dylan Mullins echoed those sentiments.
“It makes us feel good to help out and all the little kids that are going to be playing on these fields, it’s good to get it back together,” Mullins said.
The community-service project was organized by first-year coach Matt Roy who is a big proponent of team-building exercises, which helps his players bond during various activities, and he decided the first exercise should benefit parents and kids who rely on the little league fields during baseball season.
“To get the team chemistry, obviously, we’ve got to do team-building exercises and get the guys together as a team, outside of baseball,” Roy said. “Taking over this year, I want to get involved in the community. I want the community to know that we support them and hopefully in return, they’ll support us.
“It’s just good for the kids to give back to the community and be part of the community. For me to build this program, I’ve got to start at the little league program.”
One player, junior Ryan Williams, agrees with Roy’s philosophy.
“I think it’s a very good step,” Williams said. “Team chemistry is very important and it’s just good to get everyone together, and get to know each other. It’s also good to help the community. We grew up on these fields.”
Aside from benefiting his team during the season, Roy believes this experience is a life-teaching moment that will benefit his players beyond their playing days.
“This is a life lesson of giving back,” Roy said. “You want to give more than you receive. As a person — as a man — that’s what you want to show. You want to give, give, give and receive less.”
The other advantage of team-building exercises is for his players to have a chance to bond.
“It’s just about team-building exercises that’s designed to get people together who might not be friends at school,” Roy said.
Roy admitted that he hopes to organize one or two team-building exercises per month. They could range anywhere from community-service projects to watching college football during the fall.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.