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"21 QUESTIONS"
with our Baseball Director,
BRIAN VITS 
 
("21 Question" is a new feature to our website, meant to give our SJSA families a chance to get to know some of the great volunteers working for our kids!)
1.    How long have you been associated with South Jeffco Sports Association, and in what roles?
I started volunteering as a Baseball Coach in our Midget Baseball program in 2002, and have been coaching ever since. I took on a role as the Assistant Chatfield Baseball Director in 2006, became the Chatfield Baseball Director in 2007, and the overall SJSA Baseball Director in November of 2008. 
 
2.    Many people know of your name or title as one of our sport directors.  Few, however, know what goes into performing that role.  Tell us what you do as our Baseball Director.
·         Coordinate the activities of an outstanding group of Baseball Directors and volunteers. 
·         Represent South Jeffco Baseball in meetings and communications with our league, neighboring baseball associations, and our vendors. 
·         Set goals and policy for the SJ Baseball program.  
·         Schedule games (spring and fall season). 
·         Answer about 20 emails per day.   
·         Work with our local high school coaches to make sure that we are supporting their programs from a youth baseball perspective.
·         Plan and execute a budget for the baseball program.
 
 
3.    What are a few of the greatest things about SJSA Baseball? 
 
Our spring program offers 4 different competitive levels of play that allows players of all stages of skill development to be challenged, yet experience success at the same time. The league that we participate in (Jefferson County Junior Baseball) is the largest league in the state of Colorado, which provides an outstanding diversity of competition for our teams.    
 
Our fall program is ideal for both the experienced player, as well as a youngster who wants to try baseball for the first time. It is a short (two month) season with games on Sunday only, which allows the youth football players in our community to get on the diamond during some of the best weather of the year in Colorado.  The fall program is also free of many of the roster restrictions found in many sanctioned leagues, which allows the opportunity for kids to play with their friends or a group of players from any area to form their own team. Our fall ball program, which is a partnership with Bear Creek Baseball, includes teams from Colorado Springs, Aurora, Parker, and Conifer, as well as many teams from our local community.
 
South Jeffco Baseball also hosts more teams in baseball tournaments than any other non-profit youth baseball organization in Colorado. Funds from our tournaments allow us to subsidize our youth program, which saves us nearly $100 off the cost of registration in our 9-14 year old Spring Baseball program. Last season, we hosted over 300 teams in our South Jeffco tournaments. 
 
4.    What are a few things "in the works" to continue to build our Baseball program? We currently have a committee that is working on the implementation of a Coaches Training & Certification programThe goal of this program is to build on the Coaches of Excellence training program that we have been utilizing the past two seasons, by offering access to training in the very latest baseball specific coaching methods and concepts.
 
We are also working on our first “Opening Day” event for the Midget Baseball (ages 4-8) program, which includes some great activities that should make the day a special one for players, coaches, and parents.     
 
5.    What are your personal goals for our Baseball program, both short term and long term? Short term goals: To make sure that every youngster in our community who wants to play baseball is given that opportunity for the upcoming season, regardless of their ability or financial situation.       
 
Long term goals:  Would love to find a way for the South Jeffco Baseball program to develop or purchase/lease our own baseball field complex. Sufficient access to quality fields is the #1 challenge that baseball associations in our community are faced with each year.
 
 
6.    What competitive sports did you play growing up?
Baseball, Basketball, and Golf
 
7.    What 4 words would you say describe you best?Grateful, fair, patient, analytical 
 
8.    OK, now what 4 words would your kids say describe you best? Old, strict, whatever word in their current vocabulary which represents the opposite of hip, and lucky. 
 
9.    What MLB player today would you say carries himself as a true professional and role model? I realize he retired, but Cal Ripken Jr. is a great pro and role model. He had an amazing career, which included breaking Lou Gehrig’s ironman record for most consecutive games played, and playing his entire career with one team. He has since devoted his retirement to promoting the growth of the game of baseball throughout the world, and has established a foundation in his father’s name that is dedicated to providing baseball opportunities to disadvantaged children.          
 
 
10.   From a coach's perspective, what MLB player today is the best pure hitter? In my opinion,Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer. Tell us what you see when you watch him at the plate. No wasted movement. His swing is very simple and efficient, he has unbelievable balance, doesn’t get himself out by swinging at bad pitches, hits the ball where it is pitched, and doesn’t overswing or try to be a home run hitter. He is as pure of a line drive hitter as there is in baseball, who can hit any pitch in any location.     
 
11.    From a coach's perspective, what MLB pitcher today is the most fundamentally and mechanically sound? Now that Greg Maddux has retired, I would have to say Tim Lincecum. It’s hard to argue with mechanics that allow a 160 pound person to throw a ball as fast as he does.  
 
 
12.    Best all-around MLB player of all time?  No rules, no guidelines for answering this.  Just the best. Babe Ruth. Only player I know if who won championships as a pitcher and a position player.
 
13.    Best uniforms in baseball? I would have to say the St. Louis Cardinals home whites. Classic look and The Birds on the Bat logo has been around since the early 1920’s. I don’t pretend to be totally objective with that answer. I have been a Cards fan since I was born.         
 
14.    OK, today you get to change 1 thing about pro baseball...what is it and why? This is the easiest question on the list. Get rid of the Designated Hitter! The DH significantly diminishes the level of strategy involved in the game.
 
 
15.    Now that you've tackled pro baseball, what's the 1 think you'd change about youth baseball? Weather it be the results of games or tryouts, I think there is too much emphasis placed on outcomes, rather than the quality of the experience, the joy of competing, and the life lessons learned in the process. Kids need the opportunity to experience the positive aspects of team sports, as well as the adversity that naturally comes along with it, without the fear of making mistakes.  I would also mandate equal playing time in the youth game.             
 
16.    A parent says to you "Tell me the number one reason I should sign up my child for SJSA Baseball, over all other options."   Go!  
 
 I think that South Jeffco Baseball provides the best opportunity for the youth of our community to play the game at a competitive level that is well matched with their own skills and development. Weather a child is extremely skilled and advanced for their age, or just wants to try baseball for the first time, they have the opportunity for a top notch youth athletic experience at South Jeffco. 
 
We offer the same number of practices and games for all levels of play, and have the number of players in each age group necessary to improve the opportunity that a child can experience some success on the diamond, as well as being challenged to improve. We also have an outstanding group of coaches and volunteers who put in an enormous amount of time and energy to ensure that we are offering the youth of our community a positive youth athletic experience.  
 
17.    Finish this sentence about you, personally:  "People would be surprised to know that: I have a real job."
 
18.    What is your most memorable baseball playing experience? What I remember the most is the joy and camaraderie of being part of a team, and the feeling of wanting to play baseball every single day of the spring and summer.   
 
19.    What is your most memorable coaching experience? It’s a tie. Coaching our 12 year old team at the Cooperstown Dreams Park in the summer of 2008. It was a purely unique baseball experience for the boys and coaches, and was one of those life experiences that absolutely met or exceeded our expectations. 
 
The second is more personal. My son Brian, who was 10 at the time, was playing a game less than a week after his grandmother lost her battle with cancer. There were several family members at the game and Brian told them that he was going to hit a home run for Grandma. In his last at bat of the game, he did, barely beating the throw to the plate. That is the only home run he has hit in his five seasons of Junior Baseball.      
 
20.    How would you answer this parent question: "Outside of practice, my son learns by watching?  What or who should he be watching to help him learn how to play the game and how to carry himself on the field?" I have always admired the way that Derek Jeter carries himself on the field. He is very professional, yet always seems to have fun playing the game, which is something we don’t see enough of at the professional level.   
 
21.    Why do you volunteer your time to serve as our Baseball Director? I have a passion for the game of baseball, and a very strong belief that youth sports have a tremendously positive influence on the life of a kid. I have also been extremely fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to benefit from competing in multiple sports and want to volunteer my time to try and create and enhance those opportunities for the youth of our community. 


ROTHROCK EARNS CAMPTON
“FOR THE KIDS” AWARD

 

Long time South Jeffco Sports Association volunteer, John Rothrock, was awarded the organization's 2nd annual Bennie Campton For The Kids Award during recent Carnation Bowl ceremonies at North Stadium in Denver. Rothrock was presented with the award by Bennie Campton, for whom SJSA named the award.

Rothrock has volunteered his time to coach youth sports for over 30 years. He has coached girls softball, boys baseball, youth football and Special Olympics, all the while serving as an outstanding role model for the youth of our community. In addition to his service as a coach, John has served the South Jeffco Sports Association as the Girls Softball Director and the Columbine Baseball Director. He has always been enormously generous with his time and energy when it comes to youth sports.

The Bennie Campton Award was established to recognize selfless individuals who have made outstanding commitments and contributions toward enriching the lives of the children of our community. The awards' namesake was presented with the original honor in 2008, recognizing over 4 decades of his service and commitment to South Jeffco youth sports.

"This is the most prestigious award our organization can award, and it takes a truly special and unique individual to earn it," explained SJSA President, Paul Sheehy. "John's commitment epitomizes the spirit of the award, which recognizes that making such a commitment means 'making the time when there is none; coming through time after time after time, year after year', which describes John perfectly."

JOHN ROTHROCK'S COACHING/VOLUNTEER CAREER:*1977-1980 Coached 10 yr old West Jeff/Conifer baseball team*1982-Coached 14 yr olds in Special Olympics*1984-1988 Coached 9 yr old West Jeff/Conifer baseball team *1988-1993 Coached AYL Panther Football teams (88-90 - 10-12 yr olds; 91-93 - 7-9 yr olds)*1990-1993 Coached South Jeffco Baseball (Columbine Sports Assoc) team level 2 team - 9-12 yrs old*1994-1997 Coached South Jeffco Baseball (Columbine Sports Assoc) team 0 league team - 9-12 yrs old*1997-1998 South Jeffco Sports Baseball Tournament Director*1999 Assistant Softball Director (t-ball and coach pitch)*2000-2005 South Jeffco Sports Softball Director*2000-2003 Coached SJ Softball -8 - 9 & 10 yr old coach pitch/kid pitch team*2004 Coached 2nd grade Football (Scorpions) and 11 yr old rec Softball *2004-2005 Started South Jeffco Diamonds Competitive teams*2006-Present Coached South Jeffco Stikz 9-12 yr old Baseball team*2007-2009 Coached 16B-18B Firebirds Softball team