Like father, like son: McCalls make it work at Williamsburg
The Mirror is recognizing some high school senior spring sports athletes who missed out on their final scholastic seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As long as there’s been the game of baseball, you’ve always had a guy somewhere in America coaching his kid in a youth league of some sort. Williamsburg is no different, and that has been the case for the past two years for the McCall family at the high school level.
Until this year.
Coming off a very tough 1-17 season, Bobby McCall was ready to welcome back his son, senior Jared McCall, and seven returning starters, which included six pitchers, in hopes of turning things around. Plus, it was Bobby’s last chance to coach his son at the scholastic level.
“Since it was my senior year, and it would be my last time playing my favorite sport, it helped a lot having him as my coach and my dad,” said Jared in talking about the coronavirus pandemic ending their union and the Williamsburg season.
“We still go to the field to hit and do infield (work). So it really helps me get my mind off of not being able to play this year,” Jared added.
Bobby McCall, who was in his third year at the helm of the Pirates’ program, has been coaching Jared in baseball since their Little League days together.
“This is the group (from Williamsburg) that won the Dean Patterson Little World Series,” Bobby remembered. “I have coached these kids when they were in T-ball.”
And though sometimes it can be tough on a father-son relationship, that has not been the case according to both McCalls.
“I was excited to hear that he was going to apply … I was happy to find out that he even considered applying (for the job),” Jared said.
Bobby’s team went 7-15 in his first season at the helm. And though suffering 32 losses in two years can be tough on any player-coach relationship, it did not change what he was trying to instill in his son and the rest of the team.
“He taught me that it’s not all about winning,” Jared said. “Before every game, my dad would tell the team ‘to play our hearts out and just to have fun.’ So I learned to just go have fun and play the game with heart.”
He says there’s been no negative feedback from other players as far as him coaching his son, saying he treats him just like the other players on the team.
“I have never had one time where any of my kids said anything,” Bobby pointed out. “I think they respect Jared.”
Don Appleman coached his son, Christian, at Williamsburg in the 1980s for four years in basketball, as well as junior high basketball and tennis. He said there were no problems back then.
“I think the key to success when you coach a son is you have to have the understanding that the son has to follow the rules, he has to be the hardest worker at practice and he has to be the most cooperative at practice, too,” Appleman said. “And your son has to want to do that. If you have a son who doesn’t want that, then you can’t get anyone else to do those things.”
Being that Bobby has coached Jared in travel ball, as well as helping out with his team that competes in Altoona in the Kelley Federation League, applying for the high school job was well received at home by his wife, Danielle, and daughter, Hailey.
“She (Danielle) wanted me to do it because I coached the junior high when he was in seventh grade so all I really did was just move up from Little League to that and then this,” Bobby said.
And though there will be no photos in the family scrapbook from the 2020 scholastic season, Jared seems to have more than enough in his memory banks from his two years playing for dad.
“I benefited from having my dad as a coach by always playing my hardest,” Jared said. “He had expectations so I wanted to play my best to show him how much I care about the sport.”
Bobby’s memories will be as both a coach and as a dad.
“He put some butterflies and some nervousness in me,” Bobby laughed. “Especially when he pitched. I don’t know what that must be like for dads who have kids in college and in the pros. I guess it’s just human nature.”