Keeping enthusiasm in the dugout
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s baseball team embodied the age old baseball aphorism during their Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship season, as they learned that being a championship team has to have positivity off the field to have success on the field.
Meet Adam McBride and Adam Raithby, two veteran Hawks who will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure the team is always in a positive mood and energized, even if it entails growing a mullet and dancing around the dugout.
“This is a tightly knit group, they win and lose together and I am so proud of how close they have come together,” said head coach Scott Ballantyne on the Golden Hawks’ bond.
“We are a close unit, and we have guys like McBride and Raithby to thank for that,” added team captain Ian Filion. “[They] bring energy and enthusiasm that help our team be successful. I couldn’t imagine them ever being a part from each other.”
It all began in high school, when McBride and Raithby were not only causing up a storm in the hallways of school, but also on the diamond. As teammates on the elite U18 Toronto Mets squad, they won the NAFB (National Amateur Baseball Federation) championship in 2011.
Fast-forward to the present and the notorious duo are now a big part of Laurier on and off the field, serving up energy and morale boosts at will, while continuing to establish dominance on the field.
“It’s important that we are such close friends, it’s been reflective on the team and helped everyone become a tighter unit,” said Raithby. “We work off each other well, and we have learned by being close friends how to keep the energy high for the team.”
McBride and Raithby, a third-year starting pitcher and second-year infielder respectively, are easy to spot in the dugout as they are the loudest and most enthusiastic around. McBride is a pitcher, so he can always support the team on the field when he isn’t in the game, making him a valuable component.
“He is the biggest morale booster out there,” said Raithby on McBride. “When another team is chirping us, or we are chirping them, he helps turn the ship around and gets us cheering for us and stops us from being so negative.”
The duo can often be found leading chants, cracking jokes at practice and most famously dancing around the dugout with their mullets.
“Personally, I thought we were the best looking team out there,” joked McBride. “It’s the small things we do as a team to help boost our enthusiasm which leads to energized play on the field, even if it’s dancing with a wet mullet to fire up the boys.”
As much fun as they are at the diamond, they shared how important it is to be good examples away from the game, and help each other in all aspects of life. “Just keeping in contact with some of the younger guys after the season, or even housing some of them in the pre-season was really helpful,” stated McBride. “I know when I was in first year, it was huge for me to have some of the older guys show me the ropes, now I feel like I can return the favor.”
“They help include the younger guys and get everyone involved in the game if they are playing or not, which is so helpful on a youthful team,” noted Fillion.
“It’s a positive reflection after our suspension last year,” added McBride. “Being a positive influence to the younger core is vital to our teams success on and off the field.”