Editor's Note: This is the first in a four-part series covering coaches who donate their time to the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department and local youth. Today we catch up with Nathan Bural, who currently coaches the 12U Coyote baseball team.
Nathan Bural came from Alvarado to Stephenville in the fall of 2007 to attend Tarleton State University. A former sports writer and photographer for the Empire-Tribune, Bural, 26, is currently the assistant director of athletic media relations at Tarleton. He has coached SPARD baseball teams since the spring of 2008. Bural admits he is extremely competitive, but says when it comes to youth sports, winning is far from the top priority.
What motivates you to coach SPARD?
When I was a kid, I didn't have the opportunity to play select ball, and because I didn't look like an athlete, the coaches I had didn't really care what I did. This gives me the opportunity to keep that from happening to other kids because you never know which kid on your team won't be able to catch or throw a ball at the beginning of the season, but by the end of the year may have developed a love for the game that leads to great accomplishments in the future. I strive to be a positive role model for these kids and to properly motivate them to reach their full potential and be the very best they can be.
What have been some of your favorite experiences?
Last year, winning the league and getting to play in the district tournament was a big highlight, but for me, winning isn't the biggest thing. I love seeing the light bulb come on when things start to click for the kids. Seeing them learn and improve then really start to put things together is always my highlight. For instance, I had a kid who played for me for two years before he got his first hit, and when he did he really ripped one to the gap in the outfield, and I was elated. His parents were in the stands going crazy, and I think I was even happier than them.
What would you say to a parent considering SPARD sports for their children?
I'd say absolutely do it. Brenda (Haggard, the SPARD superintendent) and her staff do a great job because they do it all with the kids' best interest at heart. Obviously, it's different for me not being a parent, but I think it's a great thing anytime kids can be around each other outside the school setting in a positive environment learning to work together, to compete and how to handle winning and losing with good sportsmanship.