For the Adams family, baseball has always been a large part of our life. I played four years of little league in my youth. As I reached my early teens other interests soon took over and that was the end of my organized baseball career. However, there was always the occasional pick-up game in the neighborhood and I can remember having to answer for at least a couple of broken windows.
When Jason was old enough to start T-ball we were living in my small home town in Kentucky. There were not a lot of recreational opportunities in a town of 18,000 people and little league was a major event. There were four baseball complexes, one for each quadrant of the county, and all four fields drew major turn outs for every game. These people took their baseball serious. I coached Jason for his first two years in t-ball and it was quite an experience. The moms were sometimes a little intense in their enthusiasm and certainly did not mind letting you know their opinions on what position their youngsters should play or where they should be in the batting order. But friendships were formed and I made sure all players participated equally as best I could. The season ended with what is now the traditional mom vs. team end of year game. Over all it was a very rewarding experience and I know I benefitted greatly from my interaction with my players and their families.
After returning to Orlando, Jason continued to play little league in College Park and was fortunate enough to have Ben Crosby as coach for most of those years. Ben was not only a great coach but an extraordinary individual. The little league field at Princeton Elementary School was named in honor of Ben for his contributions to the little league program and to the community.
Jason was an excellent ball player, played on several championship teams and was almost always selected to the all-star team for each season. He also played in the Winter Park Senior League from ages 12 to 15 years and for Edgewater High School two years.
So it is only natural that his two boys, Grayson and Jackson, are now very active in little league and that it is, during season, a major activity in the Adams household. This is Grayson’s fourth year playing (eighth season with spring and fall ball.). This past spring season he moved up to minor league division. Grayson plays catcher, pitches, and also plays first base. Gray has a lot of natural talent but what I like most about him (besides his awesome personality and good looks) is Grayson is always 100% in effort. You know that even on a bad night Grayson is giving his all. His team, the minor league Rays, finished out the past spring season in a playoff for the Minor League Championship, losing by one run in the bottom of the last inning.
Jackson played his first year of coach pitch league this year after two seasons of t-ball. He plays left field and short stop. Jack won game ball for some awesome fielding for one game and ended the season with a nice trophy and award for Most Improved Player for the season. Jack likes baseball but seems to be a little more excited about the upcoming fall football season.
This is Jason’s fourth year of coaching and this past year he moved up to head coach in minor league and was Grayson’s coach on the Rays. Jason is an excellent coach and with his playing experience is well suited to teach these young players the basics of baseball. But he also enjoys watching them grow in other areas as well. Little league is a great venue for youngsters to learn social skills, to work together as a team, learn fairness, build character and work hard to accomplish goals. Jason stresses these skills as well and enjoys watching them grow in all areas. I don’t know where he gets the energy after a full day at JLC Outdoors but he seems to get a new burst when he arrives at practice or a game after a long day of hard work.
And of course mom, Kristin, does her part as well. Planning meals around practices, making sure uniforms are always clean and available, trying 30 different detergent products before finding one that actually works to take red clay out of uniforms. Her huge travel bag has provisions for almost any emergency, from bug spray and sun tan lotion to bandages and wet wipes and usually includes snacks and cold drinks. Acting as team mom, she is in the dugout for a lot of games, keeping 12 young ballplayers in line and leading the pep rally. She also acts as scorekeeper for most home games. And all this is usually after a full day of teaching 5th graders at Dream Lake Elementary.
This passion for baseball has also been a part of our company policy. JLC Outdoors has sponsored a team each of the past four years and will continue to do so in the future. I cannot think of a better investment for the dollar in terms of benefits for our youth of today. And if you are looking for some immensely satisfying free entertainment it is as close as your little league recreational facility.
As for me, I am no doubt the number one fan. Not only for the little league games but of the Adams family in general. It is pretty amazing just to sit back and watch how seamlessly this whole operation works. And to see how much pleasure and satisfaction it brings to all involved. And of course there are families all over this country who do the same for their children. Why? I think it is truly part of our Great American Heritage. Baseball, apple pie, fireworks and our red, white and blue. Have a safe and Happy 4th 0f July.
—Jim Adams, July 2012