Coaches Jimmy Oestmann, Jon Gunzel, Mike Loutzenheiser, Kenny Hayes and Pat Stone deserve a pat on the back for volunteering their time to conduct the Maverick Football Camp last week at Rim Country Middle School.
The discipline, conditioning and skills the coaches taught at the camp was just what the young players needed to prepare for the White Mountain League season.
There are many coaches in all sports who are volunteering their time and energy to host camps and oversee summer play. It wasn't that long ago a teen could pick up a football, baseball or basketball on the first day of formal practice and go on to have a good season.
But in today's changing world, participation in off-season camps and playing in summer leagues or on club teams is almost a prerequisite to being successful. That's when volunteer coaches step up to help young athletes become the best they can be.
The coaches who give freely of their time don't receive enough thanks for their contributions.
If you know a coach who has gone out of his way to conduct an off-season program or camp, give him or her a big thank-you.
They deserve it.
Making like Barry Bonds
Weekend warriors wishing to participate in the Second Annual Payson Parks and Recreation and Mazatzal Casino Home Run Derby must register and pay their entry fee of $45 per team by July 15.
All players 21 years of age and older are eligible to participate.
The tournament will take place at Rumsey II ball field starting at 5 p.m. July 16. Each team will be playing for prize money to be donated to a local non-profit organization of their choice.
The prizes are:
- $500 for first place
- $300 for second place
- $100 for third place.
All players will receive a T-shirt and trophies will be awarded to the top three teams in each division.
The derby will feature both men and women's division. For the men, the home run fence will be 235 feet from home plate. For the women it will be 200 feet.
The women will hit an 11-inch softball commonly used in most recreation leagues; the men will hit a 12-inch softball.
Hitters will supply their own pitchers. Pitches must be underhand with an arch of six to 12 feet above the ground.
The good news for power hitters is that all bats are legal. That means the high-dollar bats that are banned in ASA play can be used, including the Worth Wicked, Easton Synergy Plus, Ultra and Ultra 2.
Balls hit off those bats -- which can cost more than $300 -- travel further and with more velocity because some are built with a combination of fiberglass and graphite and others are double-wall titanium.
"There is no such thing as an illegal bat in this," Charlene Hunt, town recreation specialist, said. "And we won't be using restricted flight softballs."
The tournament will begin with an opening round in which entrants are given 15 pitches. In the second round, they receive 10 pitches.
After the home runs for each team are calculated, the top four teams from both rounds will advance to the finals.
In the final round, each team begins with a zero score and players receive 15 pitches each.
In case of tie, a sudden-death one-pitch tie breaker will be used.
For more information, log on to www.paysonparks.com or call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.
Holiday spirit in the heat of summer
The Payson Public Safety Christmas for Kids benefit golf tournament will get off to a tasty start at 6 p.m. Aug. 26 at Payson Golf Course with a no-host cocktail hour and barbecued steak dinner cooked by Albert and Charlene Hunt.
Following the meal, the sponsors will hold their annual public safety officer auction. Each three-person team entered in the tournament will have the opportunity to bid on an officer -- selected by spinning a Las Vegas-type gambling wheel -- to fill out a foursome for the following day's tournament.
Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner, Payson Fire Chief Marty DeMasi and Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores are among the 21 public safety officers on the auction block.
The tournament tees off at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start.
The tournament entry fee is $125 per player or $375 per team.
Payson Police Det. Matt Van Camp, the tournament director, said the entry fee does not include the purchase of the public safety team member.
The entry fee does include the steak dinner, green fees, golf cart and prizes.
All proceeds from tournament will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for needy Rim country children.
For entry forms or more information, call Van Camp at (928) 474-5177, ext 251.