By Nick Fathergill
For volunteers like Sean Cenawood, who has coached his 10-year-old son, James, for the past six years in Great Neck (N.Y.) Little League on Long Island, the Little League® experience has been one that has made just as much of an impact on him as it has on his players.
The first year James played, Mr. Cenawood simply checked a box on the registration form asking if he wanted to volunteer.
“The next thing I know, the League President called me up and said, ‘You’re a coach!’” said Mr. Cenawood.
Mr. Cenawood played baseball from the age of 12 through high school, and previously helped coach his younger brother in Little League. Growing up in Glen Cove in Nassau County, N.Y., he remembers listening to his grandmother rave about her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. From there, the love of baseball was ingrained in him.
Now, after six years of coaching his son, Mr. Cenawood admits he still loves every minute of it. As an attorney in New York City, and a former federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice, his plate is usually full. Still, he finds such joy in watching the children grow through their time with Little League that he continues to give his time and volunteer.
“The coolest part for me is watching the kids play and get better,” said Mr. Cenawood. “They all try to imitate their heroes out on the field.”
Marrying his everlasting love of the game with the youthful enthusiasm and spirit that the players bring, Mr. Cenawood planned a unique celebration for his team last year after it won the league championship.
To recreate the celebratory seen in most Major League Baseball teams’ locker rooms after winning the World Series, the coach brought a case of water bottles to the championship game. After the victory, the players excitedly and completely doused each other.
“Now, I bring water to the last game of the season no matter the outcome,” said Mr. Cenawood, whose passion for Little League serves as a welcoming reminder that the program also helps keep people young at heart.
Mr. Cenawood estimates he’s mentored between 40 and 50 kids over the years between the regular season and fall ball. One thing is for sure, Mr. Cenawood’s childhood love of Little League has fueled his boundless, youthful energy for teaching his children and other Little Leaguers on Long Island how the games are played, and to always remember it is about having fun.