Letter: Pigeon Forge baseball team benefited from pool sessions

Jun. 02, 2013 @ 01:07 AM


While a lot has been written over the last week about the newly crowned State Champion Pigeon Forge High School baseball team, there is one chapter from this season that I am sure very few are aware of.

One day last fall I showed up for my usual Thursday 6:30 a.m. swim workout at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. These are typically solitary affairs under the watchful eyes of the competent PFCC lifeguard staff.

On this day I was greeted by 20 or so young men and a guy named Tyler Woodruff, waiting for the doors to the pool to open. I could tell by the nervous talk that these guys were not totally sure what Coach Woodruff had in store for them that morning. As I swam my laps I watched Coach Woodruff organize sprints, relays, treading water and running in place followed by sit-ups and push-ups on the pool deck and then more sprints, etc.

There were very few actual “swimmers” in the pool that morning, just a bunch of guys working and suffering together. This weekly routine continued through the fall, winter and into the new year. What I observed was zero baseball skill being taught or learned, but 100 percent camaraderie, teamwork, leadership, stamina, dedication and effort that would prove to be invaluable to this team when they needed it the most, in the last inning of the last game of the year.

These sessions were completed before the sun arose, away from family, friends, cheering crowds and the media, in front of an old guy swimming laps and a couple of well trained and vigilant lifeguards. As the saying about ethics so well states, “It is not what you are doing when everyone is watching that matters, but what you are doing when no one is watching.” It also applies to young folks seeking to achieve greatness in athletics as well as life.

Well done and congratulations, Coach Woodruff and the State Champion Pigeon Forge High School baseball team.

Kevin FitzGerald

Wears Valley