Lynn Classical baseball coach Mike Zukowski comments were certainly refreshing at the team’s “celebration dinner” last week at Old Tyme Italian Cuisine.
Speaking to the players and parents in attendance, Zukowski said he wanted to try a different approach to the awards banquet.
“I envision this as more of a celebration dinner for the team than a banquet with awards given to all players,” said Zukowski. “The time I spent thinking about what player should get what award was sometimes painstaking. There’s not always going to be an MVP, a rookie of the year, or a Gold Glover on a team. I want to move away from that and have the players and their families come together, have some good food, good conversation, and some fun.”
What Zukowski said next may shake up the Northeastern Conference baseball coaching fraternity.
“When I attend the annual NEC All-Star meeting, the coaches have to select 40 all-stars from the league – 20 from the North [Division] and 20 from the South [Division]. And I say this every year, ‘Forty All-Stars?’ “We don’t have 40 All-Stars in this league. We don’t. But we’re into an age of handing things out to people. I honestly think we’re doing a disservice to you guys, the student-athlete when we do this.”
Zukowski said he and his coaches are not only trying to teach the players about baseball but “about life.”
Speaking directly to his players, Zukowski said, “Caring, strong-willed, hard-working, and focused – these are some of the attributes I hope people will use when they describe each of you.”
Zukowski, who played baseball at Classical and Merrimack College, implored the players to set high goals for themselves, dream big, and most importantly, be happy.
We commend Zukowski for his well-constructed speech and candid comments that were far from the traditional speeches you hear at most sports breakup dinners.