The BFA Fairfax Varsity Baseball team returned home from Florida on April 28 after a successful week of spring training at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach. The traveling entourage – comprised of sixteen baseball players, two coaches, the head coach’s wife, their daughter, and many of the player’s family members – departed for Dodgertown on April 23. The team spent the week together training, competing, bonding, learning, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
This is the 113th season of high school baseball at BFA-Fairfax and our second trip to Florida for spring training. The 2017 team is extremely appreciative of the support we received to make this trip possible. Over many months, dating back to last Fall, the team strived in a variety of ways to give back to the Fairfax community. The numerous emails we received from people in the Fairfax community commending players for their service, for being responsible, and for their good work truly warmed the heart. The time we have spent and will spend, with the Little League baseball players in town is simply the best. We are continually seeking new ways to give back locally. Thank you for your support.
Three players on this year’s team made the first-ever Florida trip in 2015 making this a week of “firsts” for most of the boys. First time flying. First time away from home. First time budgeting money. First time swimming in the ocean. For everyone, it was a week of hard work and learning the importance of time management, nutrition, rest, and recovery. We took advantage of nearby Vero Beach as well as the pool and recreation area on the Historic Dodgertown campus. We also chartered an airboat tour of a local conservation reserve area – a fascinating experience enjoyed by all. Sharing these experiences together made for a wonderful and fulfilling team adventure.
To any baseball player, the highlight of our trip was the opportunity to train and lodge on hallowed ground. Dodgertown was the spring training home of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1948-2008. The Dodgers left for Arizona in 2009. Historic Dodgertown was re-born in 2013 as part of an effort to preserve the rich baseball history of Dodgertown in Vero Beach. Historic Dodgertown is now the largest spring training program for youth, high school, and college baseball teams in the country. The moment you step onto the property you feel immersed in baseball greatness. Historic Dodgertown is a living museum that breaths life every spring into 60 years of professional baseball history created by more than 140 Major League Baseball Hall of Famers. The same fields that we played on at HDT were maintained by groundskeepers who once manicured the fields for major league spring training games. The experience is surreal. Even more so how quickly you begin to feel at home.
The daily work in the Florida sunshine was productive, fun, and very tiring. The 2017 Bullets love to work so by week’s end the boys were exhausted. The training principles we followed boiled down to (1) immersion, (2) engagement, and (3) quality instruction. The Historic Dodgertown experience creates the opportunity for immersion – that is, diving deep into the baseball curriculum. As coaches, we take seriously the responsibility of delivering quality instruction. The most important ingredient is player engagement. The Bullets were invested in the process and eager to soak up the Historic Dodgertown experience. As a result, they made great progress in a short amount of time and had fun doing it.
Coaching is teaching so as an educator it’s an amazing experience working with student-athletes who are positive, enthusiastic, hard working, and striving for excellence. Co-curricular participation is an extension of the educational opportunities afforded by a school to its participants. Our spring training trip to Historic Dodgertown was a rich, demanding, multi-dimensional educational experience. The boys had the time of their lives learning, laughing, and just being a kid living a ballplayer’s dream.
None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support we received from the Fairfax community, the BFA school board, and the BFA administration. A trip of this magnitude requires planning, organization, teamwork and devotion. It is parents, players, and coaches coming together as a baseball family. Positive parental and community support is the backbone of a strong high school sports program. Thank you one and all for making our dreams a reality. We endeavor to make you proud!