Kyle Mangan 2007-2008

Without Brenham baseball, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. Playing baseball for the Brenham Cubs teaches you that there is a standard to uphold. No matter what year it is, every player that puts that Brenham uniform on understands the expectation associated with it. We all wanted to (and continue to want to) win a state championship. Did we all do it? No. But we understood the standard that was demanded us by our coaches, our teammates, those who played before us and everyone who supported us. We prepared a certain way. We sacrificed time, energy and “fun times” to put in the work to achieve our goal. Was it fun doing at the time? Not always. But at the end of the day it was preparing us for the real game ahead of us called life. Baseball is a very difficult game. Just as life is very difficult. But the lessons we learned with the Brenham baseball program helped prepare us for the hardships of life. When things get hard and you want to quit, you remember how to dig down deep and fight through it and do whatever you have to so that you can be the best husband, father, employee and Christian that you can be. Because the desire to be the best and how to prepare was instilled in us as a Cub.

Coach Williams is like a father to me. Over the years, he and I had some heated exchanges between football and baseball and there were moments where I didn’t like him. But I always loved and respected him. He rode me harder than others because he knew that I could handle it, even when I didn’t know that I could handle it. I’ll never forget my junior season of baseball. I played basketball that year, so I came about two weeks late to baseball. Whether it was true or not, I felt like the coaches were holding it against me that I came to the team late because of basketball so I was not playing very much. An at bat here and an inning in the field there, but not what I THOUGHT I should be doing. At this point in time, I thought I had hung the moon. A few weeks earlier, I started getting recruited for football fairly heavily and ended up committing to play football for A&M during basketball season. So about my 2nd week in baseball, I still hadn’t started a game and we were playing in a tournament in Brenham. We played a double header on a Thursday night and I don’t think I played at all.  In my pride and frustration, I texted Coach Williams on the way home after the game and told him I was going to quit. He asked why and I told him because I was one of the best hitters on the team and wasn’t playing and didn’t need to waste my time riding the bench for baseball when I could go to off-season football and be working on my future. The response I got was not the response I expected. I expected him to respond kindly and coddle me and tell me I was great. He could’ve done that and put me in the starting lineup the next game. That would’ve been to my detriment. Instead, he told me I wasn’t one of the best players on the team and I hadn’t showed anything in practice to make him or anyone else think otherwise and told me if I wanted to quit then quit. Although I took it wrong and only stayed on because his response infuriated me and I wanted to prove him wrong, it brought across the desired result he wanted. He didn’t want me to quit. He wanted me to work my tail off and prove why I should be starting. Within the next 2-3 games, somebody was in a slump and I got a chance to start. I hit a homerun my first at bat of the game and never missed a start again. Coach Williams gave me a reality check and humbled me and helped me come to the understanding nothing is handed to you, regardless of how talented you are. You’ve got to work for everything you want. Some of my favorite moments from Brenham baseball were his expressions when I was approaching 1st base after hitting a homerun. Especially when I hit the record breaking homerun the last game of my senior year. I’ll never forget that classic “yeahhhhh!!!!” yell he gave as I was rounding the bag. I’m grateful for Coach Williams and can guarantee I wouldn’t be the man I am today without his influence.

When I think of Brenham Baseball, I think….. of the best times of my life. Getting to play the best game in the world, in the best baseball town in the world with the best fans, coaches and teammates in the world. What I wouldn’t give for one more game at Fireman’s park