I somewhat expected Derrick to greet me at the field wearing a GoPro prepared to record my every throw.
For seven years, Derrick was the social media genius of the Missouri Valley Conference, covering every team in the Valley. Ten collegiate teams. Eighteen sports. All by himself. Camera in hand, GoPro on a headband, ready to tweet and capture epic moments of athletes in action.
“I love sports, I love The Missouri Valley Conference, and I love Missouri State. When you do a job you like, it’s not a really a job. It was a grind, of course, but I really liked it.”
Derrick’s in Springfield for Missouri State’s Homecoming weekend. He’s on the board of the alumni association and will be grilling a few thousand hot dogs in the alumni tent at the Bear Fest Village.
“It will be magical.”
He grew up a fan of the Cardinals — Ozzie and Pujols and Wainwright. He’s now the Director of Marketing for the Wentzville School District, creating marketing partnerships with local businesses that help students in their extra-curricular activities.
“Our district is the fastest growing school district in the state. Everything we generate goes back to the kids.”
At Fassnight Field, Derrick and I swapped stories about our days at then-Southwest Missouri State University. We both graduated from the school with both directions listed on our diplomas. I would still love to find an SMSU baseball jersey. I heard his stories about website development and graphic design just as the internet started to boom at the turn of the century.
“In one of my last semesters, I took Baseball Theory and Coach Guttin taught the class. When I worked for The Valley and attended my first baseball coaches meeting, he remembered me, and announced to everyone that I got an A in his class. I earned that A.”
I am thoroughly embarrassed to admit that I did not know my alma mater offered a class in Baseball Theory. It is tempting to go back to school for the opportunity of sitting in a class and learning from Coach Guttin. Maybe he needs an assistant teacher of some sort.
I asked Derrick for any wisdom he’s accrued through his social media years.
“Relationships matter. If you care about your work and you care about your people, they’ll care about you and you’ll appreciate things more.”
Playing catch stresses the most important relational skills – cooperation, trust, and time together. I am ridiculously grateful for all the new friends I’ve made through playing catch, for the stories I’ve heard, the words of wisdom I’ve gathered.
Next time he’s in town, Derrick and I are planning on going bowling. Maybe he can give me some pointers on creating catch-playing marketing partnerships.