There is no “I” in team, but there is always me. The previous statement appears to be one of bravado, but quite the contrary. Teams are made up of individuals who come together to achieve a common goal. Teams do not form themselves. Like-minded people must focus on a common cause. The Maryville University baseball team was formed to win games and represent its institution in the best way possible. What the Maryville players did for one of their own, expresses the true meaning of team. In February, senior Tyler Schmitz and his family were the victims of a horrible fire that destroyed their home in Festus, Mo. Schmitz previously was looking forward to his final season at Maryville. He posted a 3-3 mark as a relief pitcher in 2008 and was looking to improve during his senior campaign. Instead, Schmitz took on two part-time jobs and an internship to help his family. When it became clear that Schmitz did not have time to play baseball, he thought he would have to hang up his cleats. His teammates wanted to help; juniors Greg Schwartz and Adam Boyer took the lead. The two came up with the idea of a fundraiser for Schmitz and his family. Team members wore their jerseys to a Maryville basketball doubleheader and collected loose change in their batting helmets. They also walked around campus over the next several days soliciting donations for their teammate. The team raised $1,750 for the Schmitz family. Boyer and Schwartz went further and met with university officials to see what else could be done. Maryville provided free tuition for the semester, enabling Schmitz to cut down to one job and rejoin the team. At a time when selfishness would be understood, Schmitz himself practiced humility. He told his coach, “I want to come back, but I want you to talk to the team to see if it’s ok if I come back. I haven’t been with the team the past couple weeks and I don’t want to barge in and take someone’s spot who’s been working really hard.” This type of unselfish attitude is what made Schmitz’s teammates proud to help in the first place. He did not disappoint on the field, either. Schmitz was 1-1 in nine relief appearances for the Saints. Maryville went on to post a 22-18 record and finish second in the conference; proving teamwork yields success on and off the field.
The Maryville University Baseball Team is being recognized by the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance and the St. Louis Sports Commission.