The transition from last season to this point in the pre-season has left the Florida A&M University baseball team on a rocky road for success.
During this off-season, head coach Robert Lucas decided to give the team a two-week “attitude adjustment” period to reevaluate themselves and make sure that they really wanted to participate in the sport.
“We weren’t doing the things expected of a championship contending team,” Lucas said.
“You’ve got to put in the hard work and effort it takes to compete at this level and focus on what it takes to be a good baseball team. That includes taking this game seriously, coming to team meetings, practice and showing up for practice on time.”
Kelvin Hale, 21, a junior accounting student from Cleveland, Ohio, explained the situation as a misunderstanding between the coach and the players.
“Basically, some of the players class schedules conflicted with practice, which lead to some players showing up to practice late or not at all,” Hale said. “A lot of our upper-class teammates have classes at certain times that interfere with practice.”
Tim Jones, 20, a junior health care management student from Lithonia, Ga., stated that although there were conflicts with class and practice, the team still accepted the blame.
“It all falls on us,” Jones said. “There were problems with administration issues and paperwork for some players on the team. We can’t be late to practice but you can’t miss class either. None of us were on the same page, players and coaching staff alike, it was a combination of both.”
Although the team’s practices were temporarily cancelled, the team decided not to miss a beat. Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., the baseball team came together after their classes and held practice at the Rickards High School baseball field.
Elliot Bonner, 21, senior public relations student from Memphis, Tenn., said the team needed the wake up call.
“We all got together after the meeting with coach and talked,” Bonner said. “We made a commitment to the team…it’s our responsibility and it was time to take it seriously.”
Tobi Adeyemi, 22, junior psychology student from Chicago said that even though some teammates were missing practice or arriving late, Lucas’s decision was the wake-up call that the team needed.
“It ended up being a good thing,” Adeyemi said. “The team ended up meeting together and had a good talk that brought us closer as teammates and friends.”
Thursday, the team met with Lucas and discussed the team’s upcoming schedule concerning practice before the season starts in February.
The team’s next scheduled practice is today at 2 p.m. The time off allowed the FAMU baseball team to remember why they love the game, why they play and what it takes to be good players.