Each release of the Coach Dave series has coincided with spring training or the World Series. In this post, I reflect on each book in the series from a writer’s perspective. Today: Reflections on Coach Dave Season Five.
The Southburg Middle School Eagles should be the favorite to win their league. But when rival Washington Central welcomes two familiar new transfers, the Eagles’ championship plans are threatened. Worse than that, the Southburg team is threatened when their players begin to look past the season to high school tryouts when teammates will compete against each other to make it to the next level. It is up to Coach Dave and some unexpected allies to bring the fractured team back together.
As Coach Dave’s various teams progress from recreational baseball to all-stars to middle school and, finally, to high school tryouts, a group of players and their dads come to realize that baseball is less a destination and more a vehicle. I am excited to wrap up the series with Coach Dave Season Five: The Next Level, including a “where are they now” chapter that follows Coach Dave’s players into adulthood, where they reflect on the impact of playing for Coach Dave.
Book Week: Reflections on Coach Dave Season Five
Coach Joe Samuels, Coach Dave’s high school coach. As Coach Dave joins all the guys who played for his high school coach for a ceremony in their legendary coach’s honor, the reader learns how a young man like Dave Rivers could be prepared to make such an impact in Southburg in less than two years.
I am also a big fan of Harvey “Smokie” Brandt. I thought he would be a major character in Season Five, but he “told me” that he was content to be a catalyst for change in his family.
Favorite real-life basis
I asked for names and nicknames for a “crusty old baseball guy.” My friend Larry Knight, a decorated baseball coach at Sumrall High School in south Mississippi, tweeted back almost immediately: “Smokie.”
Larry played at Hattiesburg High School for Coach Jimmy Pierce, who would later become my coaching mentor. Our home games were played at historic Smokie Harrington Park, which was recently rebuilt following a 2013 tornado that had destroyed it.
As soon as I read Coach Knight’s tweet, I knew I had my nickname.
“I want him to be on the bottom of the pile.” (Coach Dave Rivers)
“Coach Dave was a part of everything we ever accomplished and ever will accomplish.” (Bo Nelson)
Play for fun, but pay attention to the life lessons you are learning through the game. One day, you’ll look back on your playing days with a different perspective.
Your son’s playing days will pass more quickly than you can ever imagine. Don’t get so caught up in his successes and failures that you neglect to enjoy the journey. Set yourself up to look back with fondness instead of regret.
If you coach long enough, you will see plenty of your players grow into adults. Do your part to help produce adults with character and integrity.
From an Author’s Perspective
Reflections on Coach Dave Season Five: As Rooster might say, I teared up every dadgum time I read the ending. I hope you like it, too.
Order Coach Dave Season Five: The Next Level today.
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