With 36 years of coaching between them, the four coaches of the Hoffman Estates Park District's Bronco Cardinals were well-prepared for their most recent summer baseball season.
Leading the group of 13 11- to 12-year-old boys to the park district's league championship seemed natural for Marc Friedman, David M. Sertich, David T. Sertich and Kyle Sertich.
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Their accomplishments throughout the season, along with coaching two tournament teams after the regular session ended, earned the unpaid volunteers the "Best of Hoffman" award from the Hoffman Estates Park District.
With four coaches, an unusually high number for a summer boys baseball team, the men split their talents among the players.
"My boys wanted to give (Marc and me) a hand and so we decided to pool our abilities together," said David M. Sertich, 57, who had previously coached both his sons, David T. and Kyle.
Friedman was the team's organizer, the elder Sertich focused on hitting, David T., 24, taught the team proper pitching and Kyle, 20, instructed team members on proper fielding and positioning.
All coaches said having younger coaches working with the team brought a different perspective to the game.
"One thing I learned is that if you can get the youth involved with the younger kids, that's just a plus," said David M. Sertich.
"I think it was almost like they were looking up to a brother, not a parent," added David T. Sertich. "We were able to relate to them a little better."
Kyle credits the connection with the players as the reason the coaches received the award. Several players and their parents attended the recognition ceremony at last week's park board meeting.
"They allowed us to coach them and they believed in us," said Kyle, who plays baseball at Harper College and hopes to pursue coaching professionally. "In turn, we got an award for it."
David T. and Kyle both also play on the park district's Palomino team, which is made up of 18- to 29-year-olds. Friedman is the team's head coach and the elder Sertich serves as the assistant coach, keeping all four busy from April until late July.
All four men said they will return next season as coaches.
"I am strictly in it for the kids," added Friedman, who has been volunteer coaching for the past 23 years. "I want them to play the sport, love the sport and learn sportsmanship."