A youth baseball coach bids farewell with thanks

Opinion

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My name is Rick Marchetti. I have been a coach in Oak Park Youth baseball for the past 18 years. Due to fundamental differences with the OPYB board of directors, I have stepped down as a coach for this program.

I will carry with me many wonderful memories of the teams and individuals I have been fortunate enough to coach over the years. It is those players, more than anybody, that I would like to take this opportunity to thank for their hard work, constant effort, eagerness to learn, and willingness to teach me about this game that we love so much.

William Hicks, Ben Davidhizar, Mike Schindler, Bob Moelter, Andrew Corvo, the Keleher brothers, Steve Carroll, the Galvin brothers, the Newman brothers, the Gallo brothers, John Meacham, Andy Brashler, Jarrad White and the rest of the 2002 Optimist village championship team, the Halla brothers, the marvelous 2002 North Zone championship 12-year-old team (I will never forget California). The entire 2005 Optimist village championship team. Finally I would like to thank my three Vince Dierkes award winners. Ian Matthews (1996), Jimmy Zangrilli (1997), and Alec Jeffries (2005). I wish all of you the best that life has to offer.

For the last 10 years I have been coaching at the Bronco level, a league populated by coaches who are teachers. The Turco brothers, Bob Becker, Mike Marchetti, the Monaco brothers, the late Frank Schulz, Tom Legan, Jon Michel, the late Les Hevrin, Dick Flaherty, Ken Trainor, Bob Deciani, Kim Knebel, Kevin Keleher, Brian Spreng, Jim Pennino and the now elder statesman (not to mention the best coach ever) Reds Rickard.

Most of these men did not have kids in the program and coached because they loved the game, knew the game, and loved to teach the game. They helped to bring Oak Park baseball recognition not just in the United States, but throughout the world. The OPYB board should remember this. However, in this day and age of overbearing parental influence, I think that seems highly unlikely.

Sometimes I wonder what OPYB founder Vince Dierkes would think of the program these days.

Rick Marchetti

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