JIM PETERS: Steinhilber tired, but it's a good tired

2012-06-07T17:50:00Z 2012-06-08T03:18:05Z JIM PETERS: Steinhilber tired, but it's a good tiredBy Jim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
June 07, 2012 5:50 pm  • 

If John Steinhilber tells you he's not tired, he's lyin'.

"I don't have a choice," he said. "This is my own decision."

One of few coaches to go from a winter season (basketball) to a spring season (baseball), Hebron's Steinhilber also belongs to a much smaller fraternity -- those who have won sectionals in both in the same year.

"Who's ever done that?" Hawks senior Damon Wallace wondered.

Wallace, Kyle Joyce and Brad Stooksbury are all baseball players who also hooped for Steinhilber. Freshman Kyle Hanaway was also along for the post-season roundball ride, though he spent the regular season on junior varsity.

"It's crazy," said Steinhilber, who takes the Hawks to South Bend Saturday for the Class 2A semistate.

That's a good word to describe it. The Monday after Hebron lost to Bowman Academy in the basketball regional, baseball practice started. Three days ago, summer basketball workouts started. Steinhilber took a couple days off back in March and gave his players the option of a week's break.

"I decided to go straight into it," Wallace said. "I thought I wouldn't think about (basketball) as much. This year, it wasn't so hard. It was sort of different with everything going on. It seemed easier, more fun, at the beginning of baseball."

For the coach and players, it's been roughly six days a week together for about seven straight months.

"I'm going to miss these seniors," Steinhilber said. "They're like my sons. The only time I'm not with them is in the fall and on Sundays."

By all accounts, it's an amicable yet respectful relationship, with a time for fun and a time for business. The players say their coach is a lot more laid back on the diamond than the court, which can be chalked up somewhat to the natures of the games, but his principles and passion are the same.

"He's a little more uptight in basketball," Joyce said. "He really brings a work ethic to the game. He sets high expectations for us, too. We've got a lot of competitors on the team. Nobody likes to lose. You can tell we're all on board with that."

Wallace jokes that Steinhilber says he doesn't want to bring up basketball during baseball, then invariably does.

"He doesn't want us to lose sight of what our goal is," he said.

Steinhilber admitted to coming on a little strong at the start of baseball, knowing teams wouldn't be overlooking Hebron after its improvement in 2011.

"I was trying to get them to raise their game," he said. "To a man, I think these seniors felt they could get this far. There have been high points and low points, but they took it upon themselves to come together at the right time. They're taking ownership. That's what good teams do."

Were it not for the talented, veteran group, Steinhilber admits it would've been a lot more difficult to recharge the battery coming off the court.

"I knew these guys were hungry," he said. "I'm so into baseball right now, I don't even know when I made the change finally."

Is Steinhilber tired? You bet he is. But he feels he owes it to the kids to give them every last ounce of energy, then find a reserve to give a little more.

"It helps to have such a supportive community," he said. I'm not looking forward to it being over. I'm just looking forward to July. I'm looking forward to moratorium week like never before. I can't wait for a mental break."

June 16 in Indianapolis would be the perfect place to start.

This column represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.peters@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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