Keenan McCollom/Jeff Newman – Coach Madden’s Crazy Heroics

Keenan and I have been friends for many years. We met back when we were eight years old playing little league baseball at Fallbrook. We played on all the all-star teams and summer league teams and we became good friends. We still are to this day. During high school, we were always on the same team as well. We reminisce all the time about the “good ole” days we had playing high school baseball and how much we miss it now that we are in college. The same stories always erupt in our conversations. The most common of which are our Junior Varsity head coaches crazy antics. I know we will both remember these times for the rest of our lives.

There is no better coach to play under than Coach Madden. We were both lucky enough to play for him for two awesome years and not have to play on varsity while we were underclassmen. These two years with Madden allowed us to form a close bond with our coach which then resulted in unforgettable memories. Outsiders only get to hear about all the fun that goes on while playing JV baseball. We got to live through it: Twice.

Madden was notorious for giving everyone on his team nicknames. While these nicknames were sometimes crude and inappropriate, this made saying them that much more fun. Only members of the JV team were allowed to have nicknames, so anyone out of the loop would only get to watch from the outside and not get in on the fun. The reason Madden came up with these names is because he has been a coach for over twenty years. And after that long of a time, there is no way he can remember all of his players’ names.So to counteract this, he just gave everyone a nickname that he could easily remember. For example, I was a bigger kid in high school, so to easily remember my name; he would call me “Big Bird.” As for Keenan, he was named Chief Greypants. Why you might ask? The coach told us for our first game that we were supposed to bring white pants. Now being a teenager with limited memory, or just selective hearing, Keenan brought grey pants. He was the only one to make this mistake, and consequently was given the name Chief Greypants. Keenan’s license plate also reads “Grypnts “to commemorate his nickname. Madden had dozens of other nicknames as well. Helmet, Milton, La Verne, Marshmallow, Pistol Pete, and Dewey, were only a few of the names he gave to his other players. Nicknames were only the beginning of the special things that we did on the JV baseball team.

After every away game, if we won, Madden would stand up in the bus and sing crude and funny songs to us. This is something that we looked forward to every time we would play a game at another high school. These songs motivated us to play as hard as we could to win the game so that we could have a entertaining time singing with our coach. No other team I have ever been on or heard about did this which made it that much more special.

Every year with Madden, at our year-end banquet, we would have an event known as the “beefcake” contest. Now, the normal thing in today’s society is to have beautiful women posing in their bathing suits. Because frankly, who wants to look at men, right? Anyway, Madden had every JV player come up in front of the stat girls and the parents and do a little dance in their swimming trunks. The stat girls would then rate their performance between 1 and 5 and the winner would be the person with the most points at the end. Some of the more outgoing players would get really into the competition and do things that they normally would not do. For example, some of the acts included fake six packs, strawberries, and whip cream. We got pretty into it.

Keenan and I will never forget our years playing JV baseball for coach Madden. They really were the best years of our baseball career. We made many friends and had the best times of our lives. I don’t think we would trade those years of being a part of that tight-knit group of guys for anything in the world.

Junior Varsity baseball traditions and rituals have been around since Madden began coaching. They have been passed on to every new team that he coaches. This is how the stories live on and are told over and over again. The legendary fake plays Madden created are now over 15 years old. He always tells us the stories of how effective his plays were back in the “old days.” Everything Madden does with his teams is now considered traditional because most of it is out dated.  We do it because Madden says they work. Even though in the 21st century, they really are not that effective anymore. Nevertheless, our love for our coach and his wacky traditions far outweigh any embarrassment that we might endure. And I am sure that for as long as he is coaching, he will continue to pass on his customs to his players. No doubt about it.