While other local schools have had issues with weather and cancelled baseball games this season, Grace Christian Academy has played every game on its schedule. Of the games Grace has played this year, they have played 6 games: 5 home dates, with one date being a double header. What has allowed this to happen when other area schools have cancelled (see Coaches, Athletic Directors React to a Series of Cancellations)? The answer is simple, will-power and determination.
This will-power is best demonstrated by GCA’s head baseball coach, Jeff Cross. Coach Cross has the belief that games are not scheduled to be cancelled, but rather the games are scheduled to be played. Cross spends hours preparing GCA’s baseball field to ensure that games can be played. This past week his persistence has paid off with him being able to play games on two days when no other area school played. GCA was able to play games on Tuesday, April 3rd (Rain) and Thursday, April 5th(Snow) because Cross has put in field maintenance efforts to ensure that his fields will be playable within minutes of weather letting up. By replacing the infield surface and working with the mound and the home plate areas, Cross and his team are able to quickly work on any wet spots as soon as weather breaks.
Some might say that the cold has been the actual cause of other games being cancelled, but Cross has an answer for this too. Cross recently posted, “Tenacity and grit; something most people don’t practice or even know what it could look like. Today (Tuesday, April 3rd), every baseball game was cancelled in the area on the forecast of inclement weather, GCA baseball played their game! Now Grace did not win the game and they could have cancelled the game and no one would have said anything, however I am trying to teach our young men that things can be done even though no one else thinks it can be done. I want our players to live with tenacity and grit so that someday they can use it in their adult lives.”
Too much emphasis is often put into the cold weather of spring sport games. Football playoff games are played in equally cold weather and the potential for injury is greater based on the fact that the sport is a collision sport. Cross ensures that his mound and field areas are safe for players and then he lets teams play. Does this make his players uncomfortable? Probably. However, it is stretching them to do something that nobody else thinks they can do. Is this not the true purpose of a coach? Is a coach not supposed to stretch his or her players to do more than they think they can?
GCA, with leaders such as Cross, understand that a lot can be learned through sports. Cross understands that he has to do hard work in order to allow for opportunities to exist for his athletes to learn these lessons. He puts in the work so that the games that have been scheduled can be played. He puts in the work so that his players can do things that others do not do, nor do they think they can do. He puts in work so that his players can become better men. He does all of this while he could just as easily cancel the game. Cross does not cancel because that is the easy thing to do and he does not want his players to learn how to avoid things by doing things the easy way. He wants them to learn how to do hard things by learning how to persevere through adversity and overcome others telling them that things cannot be done. He does this by ensuring that his players can play even when nobody else does.
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Grace Christian Academy
Grace Baptist Church
2499 Waldron Rd. Kankakee, Il 60901
FAX: (815) 939-1334
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