I must say, as I sit here thinking back over my 54 years of life, that I have pretty much lived life to it's fullest. I'm referring to the things I've done.

The most recent project I took on was coaching young children in baseball. It was the hardest I have ever worked without pay and, more so, the biggest test of patience I never even knew I had.

It was the most fun and amazing thing I have ever done. I attribute it to my love for the game and for children.

Coaching this team did a combination of things for me that ran deep. The first thing that happened was I was back out on a baseball field. It was like finding a long lost friend.

The baseball field was like a second home to me in early life. I played the game for years while growing up. My role was pitcher, and I was a good one. My dad was a coach, and he was the best. I don't, in any way, want to sound like I'm bragging, but it was a way of life back then. We played the game hard and serious.

After I got into my 20's, I came to accept the fact that I had lived out my baseball years and put my glove in a cardboard box. Every now and then I would look at some old pictures from the playing years and somehow feel the good old days.

Then when I reached 47, a little boy came into the world that would change everything forever. My wife Lorlane and I named him Mark Jr.

Low and behold when he wanted to play with a ball, he chose the baseball. As soon as he could swing a bat, we started batting practice in the living room with a plastic ball and rubber bat. Pillows off the couch served as bases. A ball hit into the kitchen was considered out of the park.

I really didn't realize yet what lied ahead until he reached five years old. We joined the Sioux Empire Baseball Association and the next thing I knew, I was standing on a ball field for the first time in many years and it felt good.

It then became clear to me that there were little boys on that field that had their hearts set on learning to be baseball players. I knew in my heart it was going to be me teaching and helping them. I immediately made the decision to become a coach.

The next year, in 2016, I had my own team. My son, I'm proud to say, was on that team and he is one of the best little players I've ever seen.

I had a total of 11 players, most of them at six years old. And they were the most amazing children. No two of them the same. Each child was a unique individual requiring a slightly different coaching method.

Watching them learn the game and improve their playing skills was very rewarding. The looks on their faces after making a great play or a big hit was priceless.

They all worked hard and I'm so proud of how good each one played.

After the last game, I presented each player with a trophy to remember the summer of 2016. I know what it will mean to them later in life because I have one that was given to me 42 years ago in 1974.

Here's a picture of me presenting my son his trophy:

Mark Jr Trophy
Lorlane Tassler

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