Just about everyone who has played a competitive sport has most likely been subjected to unjust politics surrounding the game. A little distraught by how players are selected on the all-star softball team from the recreational teams in his area, Weplay’s newest Coach of the Week, Brian Parson, made it his mission to never count out any player with the heart and desire for the sport of softball and formed a team of girls willing to put in the hard work and effort to become athletes of the diamond.
“I put 10 girls together of all shapes and sizes. Some were 12,13 and 14 year-olds and we went and played 16 and under travel ball,” Brian says. “We only had three girls that were actually 16 years-old. We finished our first season ranked No. 1 in points in USFA. That team was called LA WAATS.”
The LA WAATS softball girls have “gone on to bigger and better things”, Brian says and he has since organized the Sand Lot Sistas, a softball team out of DeRidder, LA that initially competed in the 10 and under age division and finished 50th out of 644 teams but moved up to the more competitive 12 and under age division six months early.
“The reason I coach is to pick girls that no one else gives a chance to shine, mold them, train them to succeed and build a team that works together on and off the field,” Brian says.
Brian has realized overtime that the way he was raised, has been a major inspiration for his coaching philosophy.
Growing up as the child of a single mom, money to play travel baseball was a luxury not available for Brian. He watched all of the kids who’s families had enough money to be on travel teams play knowing all the while he was just as talented, but financial troubles caused him limited baseball opportunities. Ever since this traumatic childhood experience Brian says he made a promise to himself that when he became a coach, no matter what “race, religion, or tax bracket” a child fell in, he would not deny a child the opportunity to play the sport they love.
“There are many great athletes out there that never get noticed because of lack of funds,” Brian says, “With the Sand Lot Sistas we love each other like brother and sister, we don't judge you by money and our favorite thing to do is play ball, but most of all it's to beat the teams that have fancy uniforms and a big buy in to get on their team.”
This year the Sand Lot Sistas have been ruling the field. Five girls from the team tried out for their junior high softball teams and all of the girls are playing first team and have coaches impressed with their tremendous work ethic.
After three years of coaching, Brian has accumulated a stockpile of memories, but two memories in particular stand out in his coaching file.
The first memory is a more than satisfying comeback win while coaching the LA WAATS. The tournament had become an uphill battle through the loser’s bracket and the LA WAATS were down by seven in the final inning of the game. Player’s heads hung low, but coach Brian knew there was still a chance to win the game. He gave his players a quick pep talk and right then and there: “open up the gun show” became the team’s new motto. The gun show busted wide open and the LA WAATS came back winning the game 9 to 8.
Many softball dad’s usually end up spending Father’s Day away at a tournament since the date of this holiday falls right in the middle of prime softball season. A Father’s Day weekend softball tournament in Lake Charles with the Sand Lot Sistas, will always be a best coaching moment for Brian. His daughter was up to bat and smashed a two-run homer. While passing third base, Brian says his daughter looked at him and said, “Happy Father’s Day Dad!”
“Well, I’m not gonna lie,” Brian says “I pulled my sunglasses off my visor and busted up in tears.”
Brian will always be a coach at heart and jokes if there is life outside of coaching, “I'm an Arborist, I spend every waking moment thinking of ways to improve my team.”
Weplay is a great line of communication for a coach and Brian says it teaches his team to be responsible by checking the team page to see practice times, locations and any new updates. He also notes that posting to the team page is a lot more convenient than making 15 phone calls or sending out emails.
Coach Brian Parson’s Three Keys to Success
1. Hard work through practice and conditioning!!
2. Educate yourself through books and seminars and form a network of coaches (be careful, make sure you can trust them to not steal your players).
3. Most of all, great parents can build a child. However, your parents must trust that you know what is best on the field.
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