I need your help. Actually, Brainerd High School needs your help. I have been teaching media at BHS since the fall semester and as I have always done, when someone suggests I do something positive, I said yes. I agreed to coach the girls’ softball team this spring. I am taking over a program that has gone several seasons without a single win; a program that had to forfeit more games than they played in 2012; a program that has no field to play or practice on; a program with no uniforms, very little equipment, yet close to two dozen young ladies who want to play high school softball, still working out in preparation for pre-season practice, which begins on February 11th. As some of my friends and family asked me when I told them I was taking the job, “Are you crazy?”
No I’m not crazy, at least I don’t think so. I am a bit different but that’s really nothing new. No I seriously think I can make a difference in a few lives. That’s why I’m here in the first place. I haven’t coached since the summer of 1997, but I love the game and more importantly, I love the kids.
We’ve had to start from scratch, which means we need money. It will cost us around $6,000.00 to put a team on the field for our first game on March 12 against East Ridge. As of today, we have about $1,000 in our school account. I usually don’t like to beg, but we have just a few weeks to pull this together. I have been part of planning for fund raising for Brainerd High School athletics, but the need in softball is almost immediate.
I think the girls have bought into what I have been selling since winter conditioning workouts began on Election Day in November. We started out with 51 names on our pre-season sign-up sheet. We now have about 12 to 15 girls who are still coming, with another group of girls from the BHS basketball team joining us when their season ends. Someone recently asked me, “How many games do you expect to win?”
My answer was this; “All of them!” (You can refer back to paragraph two) Seriously, wins do not matter. Giving these young ladies opportunities they wouldn’t normally have matters. Putting them on the field in nice uniforms with decent equipment also matters. And getting them to the games so they will not have to forfeit also matters.
If you would like to help us, please do. You can mail checks in any amount to the school at: 1020 North Moore Road Chattanooga, TN 37411. Please specify on the check you want the money to go to softball. I am waiting until we get some more money before I order uniforms. If you are able to help us, thank you in advance. If you can’t help us, thank you anyway for thinking of us, and we invite you to come see us play this spring.
A few weeks ago, while the girls caught their breath after running sprints, one of my players asked me, “Hey coach….how do you get girls out? Do you throw the ball at them and hit them like dodge ball?” I just shook my head as I once again questioned my sanity. It’s going to be a fun season for Brainerd High School Softball!
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).