Ava Seccuro cub writer
The clap of the glove, the dust from the ball and the sound of laughter permeate the baseball cages on a hot Friday afternoon. Here, head softball coach Vonzie Paysinger and his daughter and player Reina Paysinger bond over the game they love.
Paysinger played baseball in high school at Beverly and continued to pursue his baseball career at California State University Northridge, graduating in 1984. After college, he began coaching boys baseball under Bill Erickson with great success since 1985, and has continued ever since.
Coaching, however, is not Paysinger’s only passion. Whether it’s going camping with family or watching his daughters play sports and cheering them on, spending time with his family is his greatest joy in life. And while his oldest daughter Reina is playing baseball for him, Paysinger has the opportunity to strengthen the bond between him and his family.
“Sometimes [Reina] gets tired of hearing from me…you don’t want to keep driving somebody to the point where it drives them out…the key is to find that balance point in coaching your kid,” Paysinger said. “It’s not easy, because you can’t take home what somebody did wrong in a game or practice. You let it go and move forward.”
Luckily, Reina has noticed a renewed closeness of their relationship since he has begun to coach her as a high school athlete.
“Having my dad as a coach has created a positive relationship between him and I because we bond over softball and what we could do for the team to make us better for the future,” she said. “I know his coaching style, and I know how hard he is going to push everyone to be their best.”
However, their bond is strengthened not only as player and coach, but also as child and parent.
“Me and my dad like to go to college softball games together. We also like to workout together,” Paysinger said. “We come up with different plays together [and] we like to go see other high school teams play to see their strengths and weaknesses.”
For Passenger, being a coach and being a father are one in the same. As a parent, Coach Paysinger gains a unique insight on how to treat his players and how to be the most effective coach for the team. As a father, his “family man” values truly integrate themselves in his coaching style.
“With kids, you put things in perspective ‘cause you want to be able to do things that [do] not embarrass you [or] embarrass your family…you don’t want other people to act like that when they’re coaching your kids,” Paysinger said. “It changes you ‘cause before kids you might act a little differently, and then you realize…you don’t want other people to act that way toward your kids.”
Coaching his kid nonetheless is different than coaching his many other “kids” of the high school. Moreover, some lessons he has learned through parenting have become applicable to more than just his daughter.
“The one thing that has changed me [from coaching] is to be more patient…People feel like it’s easy to coach and the kids get it…but they are doing the best they can do. No one goes out there to try and play badly…As long as the kid is going 100 percent, accept it,” Coach Paysinger said. “You want to teach people how to compete whether in the classroom or on the field, and when it’s over it’s over. As long as everybody is giving 100 percent, you’re good to go.”
Paysinger gives 100 percent to his team and evidently more to his family. Major obstacles in his life have served as an epiphany in how to live and appreciate life with his family, such as the death of his mother.
“You realize how important every day is with your kids,” he said. “It’s important to be in their lives every day and not to take it for granted. [Sometimes you think], ‘I’m going to be here forever,’ and that’s not the case.”
So in the meantime, Coach Paysinger will continue to put forth his heart and soul into his team and cherish the times with his family so that he and Reina can both hear the clap of a glove and see the dust from the ball rise into the air while playing the game they share together.