Luke Berlinghof - (Dartmouth College)
Former Long Island Athletic Player
As a part of initiation in my fraternity I have individually told my life story to every older brother. Doing so I have come to realize how truly influential baseball has been in my life, and mostly because of you. I love the sport and always will, but I don't know anyone who has taken it to such a level of personal development as you have with your players. Thankfully you took me under your wing early on, and set me up for success at a young age. Two particular instances stand out in my mind fairly often.
1) You put me in at short stop for one of our summer games. A college player from your older team had come down to pitch for us. He was on fire and it was a very close match up. Until the middle of the game I booted 4 or 5 routine ground balls in a single inning and caused the team to get way behind, resulting in a total meltdown and blow to my confidence for the game. I came running in after that inning and, because of the way my high school coach led our team, was fully expecting to sit the rest of the game. You got everyone into a huddle, told us to get back in the game, and looked me in the eyes and said "I'm not taking you out, so let's go". It was literally that simple. You challenged me to get myself back in control and never put my head down. As a result, I composed myself and went back out there and finished off the game my normal self.
2) In another summer game, I get walked and end up being hit around to third. When I get there you ask me why it took so long for me to get there. I thought you were joking but you weren't, you were actually mad, you said "why weren't you reading those pitches? If you read that curve ball going in the dirt you would have been here 2 batters ago". I was actually shocked, but you were completely right. You held me to a standard I didn't even hold myself to. You pushed me to think in creative ways and take advantage of every single opportunity.
Those two things have stuck with me, and I'm very grateful for them. Honestly I learned more about myself and how to be disciplined playing for u than any other experience outside of my immediate family. I know u always gave me shit for typing up novels instead of texts, but I thought this was important to share. Please say hi to Joe for me too, because he was just as much a mentor as you.
Thank you coach !