My name is Shelley Mason and I would like to nominate Tom Galbraith for MVP. Tom has coached ball for many years (at least 11 years we believe). First for his son Sean – who now plays for the Alpines – and currently for his son Ryan who has just finished AAA Mosquito ball and will move to Peewee next year.
How Do You Know This MVP?
My husband has known Tom for a long time (he played with him years ago) so we knew he was a great guy and we had heard that he was a great coach, but that was validated for us this past summer when our son Drew had Tom as his coach this year for his first year of rep ball on the Mosquito AAA Pirates.
What Do They Bring To Their Sport/Team?
First and foremost, his focus on the kids' development - as opposed to on wins and losses - is why three 9 year olds were able to step in to the batter's box with confidence against 11 year old pitchers...and hit the ball or hold their heads high if they didn't. And kids who weren't sure of positioning at the beginning of the season were turning double plays during Atlantics. And aside from their skill development, Tom's always calm and encouraging - never negative - style was transferred to the kids. This was evident when we saw the kids give a thumbs up and yell "nice try" to their teammate when they missed an easy ball or struck out. And when others might not have seen it, Tom would recognize when someone was down and would quietly say "pick him up" and the boys responded immediately...the way they supported and consoled each other was so touching and so mature for 9-11 year olds!!
Secondly, Tom's respect for the umps and other teams was refreshing! We went the whole season without him ever arguing with an ump...not once did he get upset and challenge a call in a negative way. This set the example for our players to do the same. They accepted the "bad" calls and just moved on to the next play, and in the end, I'm sure the Pirates collective attitude toward those umps gave us a few calls our way when it was close.
Finally, the tone was set for parents to always be positive...of course with our team but also cheering the great plays by the opposing team. Tom actually received letters of thanks from parents of other teams who acknowledged and thanked him that he had "picked up" one of their players when they needed it...after making a bad play..when their own teammates and coaches didn't. It was never about our own kid and what they did right or what another kid did wrong... the coaches, players and parents supported each player equally. "Hard, smart, together" was exactly how that team played all year long and we consider ourselves fortunate to have been a part such a positive season and to have been reminded what is truly important in youth sport.
What Makes Them An MVP?
Tom is a great leader and MVP in minor ball and in youth sports in general. He has fostered confidence and the "love of the game" in everyone who has been lucky enough to call him "Coach".