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By Olivia Carson
With 18 years of playing/coaching for Rockingham County Baseball, pitcher and assistant coach for the New Market Shockers, Kirk Messick, has a desire to become the oldest player in the league.
As he grew up in the area and played baseball for Broadway High School, Messick has always been a big fan of the Broadway Bruins. Messick cherishes memories of his dad taking him to games and getting to watch his high school junior varsity coach, Neil Clatterbuck, play for the league.
Messick started his career with RCBL during his sophomore year of high school when he was only 15 years old and was asked to play for the Bruins as a pitcher. He explained that it was fairly unusual for a kid that young to be playing in the league as he did back then. Gradually over the years, the league has gotten younger and more experienced as it is now.
Looking back at when he first started with the Bruins, Messick believes that RCBL has grown and changed a tremendous amount. He described his old teammates and friends in the league as “the good ole boys” who were mostly older local gentlemen who would work a 9-5 job, return home, eat dinner with their families and then drive out to the field to play baseball during the week.
As younger generations started to play for RCBL, Messick thinks that they brought a lot of talent and were able to help create more of a family friendly atmosphere within the league.
“[the good ole boys] knew each other so well so there was a different type of passion. Sometimes that passion would get the best of players and [would lead] to different altercations. With the dynamic of the league changing to a younger generation who only play for a few years, the relationships are different amongst the players as opposed to the past,” says Messick.
With that being said, Messick agrees that these changes are for the better and that he has thoroughly enjoyed watching RCBL grow into what it is today. Another wonderful aspect of his time with the league has been his ability to meet so many people and build long lasting relationships.
When asked what is keeping him motivated to continue playing baseball after all of these years Messick responded with:
“I think one is I just thoroughly love the game [and] love to play it...at this point in my life having my son now at the age to where he’s starting to play and now that this year he’s our bat boy...I’m more proud this year of him being apart of the team and showing the same passion that I have [for baseball].”
Messick played 6 years with the Broadway Bruins and decided to take a 2 year break from the league during his undergrad after he transferred from Lynchburg College to Bridgewater College. He then got asked to help Chris Rush coach the New Market Shockers and from there he started playing again. Now Messick assists Nolan Potts with coaching the Shockers while standing in as a pitcher as well.
His transition from being a player to being a coach was easy because he still plays and has a good relationship with everyone on the team.
“It wasn't really a major transition because I’ve never really been just like a coach and not a player yet, it's just my role as a player has lessened a lot and I’m okay with that,” says Messick. He doesn't mind not playing as much as long as his team is doing good and winning games. “Sometimes it’s fun to go out there...and show those young guys that the old guy on the team can still get the job done and can teach them a few things.”
Currently, Messick is also finishing up graduate school to obtain a degree in Sports Administration and is interning with the RCBL media staff. Messick has a dream to one day become a public relations director for a professional baseball team, but first he wants to compete with Kevin Rush and some of the other older players/coaches to be the oldest player in the RCBL.
Messick does not plan to continue coaching for much longer because his true passion for the sport really lies within being an actual player on the field. “If I ever did any other coaching it would probably be for my son’s team,” he says with hopes that his son will follow in his footsteps.
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