By Christopher T. Matthews
NEW BREED Softball Team held an appreciation dinner for their coaches “Lonnie (Tom) and Barbara (Jean) Williams on Saturday September 24, 2016 at All Occasions on Hill Ave.
In attendance of this appreciation dinner were former team members, which ranged of ladies from the team’s early conception in late 1960s until 2006, along with family and friends.
These coaches have had one of the longest duration for a team of ladies playing together and serving the community. The team won many trophies and championships throughout their long running years of playing “Women Slow Pitch Softball” based in Toledo, Ohio. They have coached and trained over approximately 300 women during their 30 plus years of coaching. Some of the ladies and their children still play the game with various teams. These two were more than just coaches to these ladies, they were mentors.
They instilled the values of living a Christian life and family. For many of these ladies, it was not just a softball team but a welcome interruption of getting away from the everyday struggles of life. They were presented with an engraved plaque, which stated “That Which You Have Planted, Lives On…. New Breed”.
Thank you speeches were given by some of the players, which ended with these words to their coaches, “The value of sunrise is known only to people, who were in the darkness. We know your value as we know how we were before your coming. You are a person to be treasured and appreciated to the core”.
Mrs. Jean Williams said, “It’s marvelous to be here today, I did not know this was an appreciation dinner for us. I thought it was just a New Breed Team Reunion. I was really surprised, and I love everybody who played a part in putting this dinner together and showing appreciation to us for coaching them over the last 25 plus years.”
A former pitcher for New Breed Soft Ball Team, Christine Carter, felt that an appreciation dinner for them was long overdue. “The Williams, as coaches, are nice but stern people. There were alot of us who never played softball before, including myself. But, the Williams got us in shape and taught us the game of softball, not to mention, that they also instilled values in us that we could use of the field, she explained.
Martina Dixon, a current player for New Breed Softball Team, shared the same sentiments about the dinner for the Williams. She enjoyed playing for them and recalls the most memorable moment was the tournament that we were in out in Fort Wayne Indiana.
Another current player. Denise Martin, said that they all came from a different world. And, softball taught us how to be better people, players and it instilled a sense of unity amongst our fellow sisters. There was a lot of support on and off the field. “Team New breed was and is more than just a softball team it is a Sisterhood,”she stated.