Dily Felix, coach of the multi-time Champion Lady Twins, shares what it’s like to be a fastpitch softball coach in New York City.
It’s a beautiful day in NYC, the sun is shining and it’s perfect weather to practice today. The team and I begin our walk to the field feeling excited. We start talking about upcoming games and our practice plans for the day. We finally arrive at the field just to discover the field is taken by kickball players. The disappointment on the player’s faces is heartbreaking. This is just one of the many struggles we face back home while trying to build a successful fastpitch team.
The lack of field space is insane and has become a prevalent issue within the softball community. I remember growing up and finding a place to practice my swings or groundballs on a field almost every 2-3 blocks. Now I’d be lucky to find a space to practice. If I decide to take the girls to the cages, indoor facilities, or find alternative areas to practice there are complications.
Girls can’t always afford the fees that come with trying to put a competitive team together, so we then have
to fund-raise money in order to save myself, as a coach, some money in the long run. Fundraising has become even more difficult since I put my first travel team together 18 years ago. I thought it would have been easier being that there are more ways to raise money now, but boy was I wrong. Players and parents don’t understand all the things that coaches do for them. We sacrifice a lot; our jobs, our families, our health, our pockets and our time. Coaches go to meetings to fight for each and every player in the league regardless of his or her team and struggle to raise money to be able to play in the next tournament. Guess what though? I have never regretted my choice on becoming a coach.
During my time as a coach, I have had more good memories than bad. I have helped generations of softball players become hardworking and committed women that have learned to persevere. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a player smile and enjoy her time on the field with her sisters, or that one player that spent hours perfecting her swing so she can get her first hit. Then immediately turning to me with the confidence to say, “I did that coach.”
To me that is what it’s all about regardless of all the headaches I have to deal with. The smiles on the players faces and their parents thanking me for giving their daughter the confidence and security to be herself and flourish in this great sport. That is all I need to keep going regardless if we don’t have the field space. Regardless if we don’t have the money, one thing I do know we have is each other, and our bond to make the best of what is given. No excuses!!!. The power of softball can help change lives on the field and definitely has the ability to transcend beyond the field. Now let’s get ready for the new season we have a lot of work to do!