March 2008

My Adopted Niece

I went to Southwest Louisiana University to give a coaches lecture and there were 3000 coaches.  As I was being rushed into the gymnasium, to being the lecture there was a little girl, about 11 years old.  She had a glove and she asked me to sign it, and the guy that was escorting me said he can?t, he?s late.

I said, ?Hey, hold it friend,? and I signed her glove.

That night at the dinner, I?m on the dais and she comes up and stands beside me for the entire evening.

Eleven years old.

When I left, two days later I received a letter from her, and I wrote back.  Then I received another letter from her, and I wrote back again.

Now she?s in high school and now I?m Uncle Tommy.  She asked me to go down to the school and speak, which I did.  She told me that in the state of Louisiana, girls can not play on boy?s teams, so her father sued the state and won.

She became the first baseman in the boy?s baseball team in Crowley, Louisiana. 

Now she?s in college, and she asks me to go down and speak to the college which I did.  I met her family, and when she came to LA she met my family.  Then when she graduated she wanted to play for the Silver Bullets, an all girls baseball team that would tour the country playing men?s teams.

She asked me if I could get her on that team, and I said yes I think I can.

I called Phil Niekro, the coach of the Silver Bullets.

I said, ?Phil, do you remember when I selected you for the all star team??Alyson_1

He said, ?I sure do Tommy.?

I said, ?Remember when I put you in the game and you hadn?t pitched in an all star game??

He said, ?I sure do Tommy.?

I said, ?Well I?m going to call in my markers.?

I told Phil that I have an adopted niece that I want on the team, and that she could really play.  She was on the team for five years until it was disbanded.  When she left the team, I told her she should become a coach because she loves the game so much. 

She is now the assistant softball coach at the University of Alabama.  She has been there for more than 10 years, and although she has had opportunities to go elsewhere, she stays because of her loyalty to the head coach who gave her an opportunity to coach.

She is without a doubt one of the most outstanding young ladies you?d ever want to meet.  Her name is Alyson Habetz, and her team, the Crimson Tide, is 15-0, and ranked number one in the country.

And that?s the young lady who I met when she was 11 years old.

Congratulations Alyson, and congratulations to coach Murphy and all your players.

Keep up the good work, and keep winning.