Play Ball! 2

Coaching the Bomber Boys

The Camp Creek Bombers are the little league baseball team affiliated with Sandtown Park. The team was founded by Tarveres Tate in 2013. In the spring of 2014, the Bombers proudly brought home the title of the Sandtown Baseball Tournament by turning in a decisive win at the end of an undefeated season. In the summer of 2015, the Bombers team competed in the Dizzy Dean tournament, making it to the championship game. In 2016, the Sandtown Bombers won the Jackie Robinson Invitational 6U Tournament.

By day, Coach Tarveres works as an insurance agent, but after work hours he is the Head Coach of the Camp Creek Bombers. After numerous conversations with his brother about what they thought should be done with the baseball teams at Sandtown Park, Tarveres Tate was approached by the Sandtown Commisioner about starting a team at the park.  Tarveres decided to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. He asked his brother, Cedric Tate to join him and they took off running. His son Myles is on the Bombers team but he also has an older son who played sports. Watching the interaction and the burnout that resulted from some of the coaching styles encountered by his son, Coach Tate knew exactly what he wanted to do as a coach.  He knew that he wanted to mentor  and teach the boys the value of team work on and off the field. He wants the kids to know how to play and respect the game, how to compete and have fun. He loves that the “Bomber Boys” displayed what they learned from the coaches while in the tournaments and that he has had the opportunity to see them succeed.  His relationship with the other coaches is special. It helps him see all sides of the kids’ development. All the coaches are invested in the kids and each coach has his own style of interacting with kids. They are also all competitive, but they are on the same page when it comes to working with the kids. Coach Tate truly loves what he does and he wakes up thinking about what he is going to do with the kids at practice. He is extremely proud of what the kids have accomplished: coming in 2nd at the Dizzy Dean Tournament and winning the Jackie Robinson Invitational. He is personally touched by being able to see his own son transition from playing in the dirt as a beginning 3 year old player to watching Myles catch the game ending ball during the semifinal game in the state tournament.

Cedric Tate is the assistant coach of the Camp Creek Bombers. He is also the younger brother of head coach Tarveres Tate. Coach Cedric grew up playing baseball and his father encouraged him play up as an athletically, which pushed him to become a better player and stay ahead of the curve. Coach Cedric has a passion for baseball and teaching kids about the way the game is supposed to be played. He also recognizes that he is always learning as a coach. He treats all the kids as if they were his own and steps in to help whenever and wherever he is needed.  He works hard to make sure that each child continues to develop their skills.  He always encourages them even while he challenges them to play their best. When the “Bomber Boys” who are now a 6U team, play a 7U team they don’t always win. He wants the kids to know that if they gave 100% and they learned something that it is ok. That challenge teaches them good sportsmanship and life lessons on how to deal with and learn from losses. On the other side he is also pleased to see the synergy on the field from the kids when they played in the Jackie Robinson Invitational. He can see the growth in the kids because the kids know each others strengths and they trust each other.

Coach Brian Grant arguably has had the most personal success as an athlete playing both at the collegiate and professional level. He, just like the other coaches, steps in where he is needed and often serves as the outfield coach and pitches to kids during games.  He has always mentored younger kids and his transition to help with coaching was natural once his son started playing sports. As a coach, he uses a lot of metaphors that have lasting impact with the kids, including his favorite; “Pay attention and attention will pay you later.” His most memorable moment with the team includes watching the kids win the Jackie Robinson Tournament and coming in second at the Dizzy Dean State Tournament. His proudest moments, as a dad, were watching his son win the pitchers award and the commitment award at the Jackie Robinson Tournament.

Growing up, Roland Grimmett played basketball and baseball. As the dad of a player, Roland helped out as often as he could with the team. When the head coach suggested he “make it official,” Roland stepped up to he plate. Coach Grimmett is the 1st base coach on game day, but like all the other coaches, he steps in where ever he is needed. He sees the similarities between himself and his son as an athlete when it comes to their personal characteristics of being coachable their desire to improve. Coach Grimmett enjoys the camaraderie with the other dads and the positive role models that they are for the kids. He has tremendously enjoyed watching the boys grow and seeing their successes not only on the field, but also in school. He admits that the coaches are probably enjoying this experience as much as the kids are.

Juan Lyles works by day as a drug counselor at the juvenile justice center, so when Coach Tate asked him to be the team disciplinarian, it was a natural fit. Coach Lyles also played sports in college and coaches basketball as well. He has a special fondness for his son playing baseball at Sandtown because his uncle also played at Sandtown as a youth. He sees Sandtown as a great place to teach the fundamentals of baseball. As Camp Creek Bombers, the kids are learning the values of teamwork, discipline, leadership skills, how to win, how to lose, how to take constructive criticism and developing relationships. Coach Lyles knows due to his daily work life, that these are essential skills that will help the boys become successful not only in baseball, but also in life.

E. B. Drake is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a devoted wife, a mom to three energetic boys and an educator in a local school system. E.B. blogs activities for kids in the Southwest Atlanta area at SwatzMom.Wordpress.com.