Editor’s note: Since being part of a high school sports team isn’t just about competing in scheduled events, the Daily Herald is going behind the scenes and telling a little bit of the stories of our 2020 spring athletic squads here in Utah Valley. To do that, we are having team captains describe their teams, talk about favorite experiences and relate lessons learned.
There can be some uncertainty when a team at a new school starts getting things going.
How will the players fit together? How long will it take to get acquainted? How will the chemistry be?
Those might have been questions for the Cedar Valley baseball team before the 2020 season but senior captain Kody Ostler said they were answered quickly.
“We’re just a bunch of players who have a lot of fun,” Ostler said. “The team we used to play for at Westlake, it felt like it was strictly business. This team is more than that. We connected quick from the get-go. It’s fun to play, fun to win and even fun to lose because we still had fun. What I miss is the fun part of baseball and that’s what this team brought.”
Fellow Aviator baseball captain Max Simmons said that bond could be seen during the early part of the season.
“At the beginning of March we went to St. George for a tournament,” Simmons said. “We ended up with one win and three losses but we stayed together as a team. It was really cool to see us become more of a brotherhood even though we had our struggles.”
Ostler laughed as he recalled some of the humorous moments from that trip.
“We were doing team bonding, so our coach had us do some skits,” Ostler said. “Those skits were really, really funny. It brought us closer together as a team. We got to know each other more and that was fun to do.”
Things, of course, didn’t go as planned as efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 ended up postponing and then later canceling the season.
Simmons and Ostler tried to help the team stay motivated and focused.
“We want as many guys as possible who can work at home to be developing their skills,” Simmons said. “Maybe have a dad or a mom help by throwing balls or playing catch. We want to be doing anything we can to help and not slow us down.”
Ostler said he gained an appreciation for the importance of pushing yourself while holding others to a high standard.
“I’ve definitely learned to be self-reliant, to work out by myself and get better,” Ostler said. “I’ve also learned how to check up on other people and make sure they are doing their part. Players come to me for tips. It’s nice to see the kids who want to get better.”
Aviator head coach Tim Miller said the trust Ostler developed during the short time the team was together made a big difference.
“Kody has quickly became a leader of our team and a role model for the younger kids to look up to,” Miller said. “His positivity is contagious and his work ethic is second to none. He is very coachable and leads by example. Kody is a great baseball player and an even better person.”
Simmons added that he learned to value every second of baseball that he gets.
“I’ve learned to not take the time we have for granted,” Simmons said. “This is something that came out of the blue. We all thought that we were going to be able to play a full season. We thought we were going to go far — but only to be able to play four games was a shocker. I’ve learned to take the time you have and enjoy it while you can.”