Written by David Mann
LEESBURG – Head Darton softball coach Eric Neel took the helm of the Lady Cavalier ball club with only three weeks to prepare for a Feb. 1 season opener, but that didn’t stop him from immediately taking his program into the local community.
On Tuesday the Lady Cavs began what will be a weekly visit to Kinchafoonee Primary School, where individual members of the team will visit different classrooms and read to children.
It may seem like a lot for a new coach to take on considering the long days of an “in-season” program that often begin with pre-dawn conditioning sessions and end with evening recruiting calls, but Neel said he’s been involved with elementary schools at every coaching job he’s had, and he sees no reason to stop now.
“Our girls loved it,” he said. “They feed off of the excitement there. It’s just fun, positive energy. The way I look at it, it benefits both parties.”
Kindergarten teacher Denise Rogers lauded the Lady Cavaliers as positive role models for her students. Rogers’ classroom hosted sophomore outfielder Jordan Watson, Tuesday, who from a rocking chair read a book about a chicken who constantly interrupted his father’s bedtime stories.
“My students absolutely love having guest readers,” Rogers said. “The girls are also a good example for our students. They show how important it is to work hard and continue their education.”