Bill Saunders Sr Calvert County Youth Sports Coach
Before I ever put my pen to paper, I knew this would be a good and interesting story about a man that has dedicated much of his adult life to working with our youth. I know that he is well respected by the parents and other coaches here. I am sure his young protégés have great respect for the time and effort he has spent with them to teach the fundamentals of various sports while helping them grow and mature as young adults. Bill and I go back several years as we share a lifelong love for our Washington Redskins! To say we are just fans is not enough as our devotion to this team is deep and remains unbroken through the good times and the not so good years! But my story this week is about Bill and his long time devotion to our young people!
Bill and his wife Jennifer and son Billy, Jr. moved to Calvert thirteen years ago while Jen was pregnant with their young son Nicholas. Bill was born in Falls Church, Virginia and his family moved to Clinton, Maryland when he was in the Second Grade. He describes the community there as being much like Calvert County is today, rural with a lot of small businesses. He is always amazed to meet old classmates and former friends and neighbors from Clinton who also made the decision to move to our little part of the world. He continually runs into people from his past whether shopping, or out to dinner or even attending a sporting event somewhere in the County. I think each of the personalities that I have brought to our readership has talked fondly of their love for living here in beautiful Calvert!
Bill started coaching youth sports while living In Charles County. He first worked with son Billy’s baseball team and spent several years coaching them. Upon moving here to Calvert, he thought his coaching days were over as they had extensive youth programs here that were well established with many volunteer coaches already onboard. He relates that a fortunate thing happened when young Nicholas became old enough to be interested in playing sports. Quite by accident, Bill was standing with a bunch of other “football dads” when a guy approached the group and asked who would want to coach the “Pee Wee” team? Bill, like many of our “unsung heroes” who never say no, was ready to take on the challenge when a mom recognized him from his earlier baseball days and said, “Why don’t you do it Coach Billy?” And the rest is history because that was all the other guy needed to hear! Before Bill knew what was happening, the gent handed him a bag of footballs and a whistle and walked away. He was left literally “holding the bag” you might say! But he immediately latched on to another dad and together they went to work on building this team of real young football “wannabes”!
In hindsight, Bill believes this was one of the best things that has happened in his life as he has forged great relationships with folks here that have been “life changing”. He states “the Calvert youth athletic community is an incredibly tight knit group with many volunteers behind the scenes who work tirelessly to ensure our kids are afforded the opportunity to experience the great camaraderie, the valuable lessons, and the pure enjoyment that youth sports provide”! Well said sir! He continues by saying he has always been impressed by the ability of those in leadership roles who are able to work together and compete without losing sight of what is important! Bill, I could not agree with you more! I have always wondered where the “Pee Wees” of yesteryear lose that sense of sportsmanship and the real importance of “team play”. Is it during their high school years or in college or probably when they turn “pro”? Maybe it’s the money that turns their heads. I have often wished I had the talent of some of these young people. Given the chance, I am sure I would not have squandered this “god given” ability as some professional athletes have by their regular display of arrogance and absolute selfishness. I believe their once bright careers are shortened because of it today! Volunteers, such as Bill, provide these young folks with the right teaching and the proper example and I too am impressed by their long term dedication that turn most of their “charges” into fine adults. I can never provide enough praise about our volunteers in every area of endeavor that make our lives better!
Although young Nicholas dropped out of active participation in team sports two years ago, Bill has continued on with coaching, often on the field 3 or 4 evenings each week and then all day on Saturdays. He admits that it’s a little more of a strain when your family is not involved any longer. He knows he has missed some real quality time with his wife and kids due to this commitment to our youth. He recently decided to step down from his leadership position for the local youth sports community after 5 years even though it is still in his blood to remain in some capacity. He states “the kids you coach, their parents and all the volunteers I work with have become my extended family”! It’s just something that is not easy to walk away from! Bill, I know how you feel! I miss all of the enthusiasm and hoopla that went along with my 25 years in a granny dress and a pig snout. It is hard to give it up!
Finally, Bill is completely amazed that his name has become synonymous with coaching football and he is better known throughout the County for his volunteer efforts! For a great many years, he has worked in the Real Estate community as a professional Mortgage Loan officer. He gets great enjoyment helping others to relocate here. And it gives him great satisfaction when he runs into his clients later and they tell him he was right about how good life is here. He says it feels good to know he provides a valuable service and can help others in this chosen “field” as well. Bill I want to congratulate you for all the great things you do! Your contributions to our many citizens for so many years has been outstanding! Thank you!
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.