There are days Mike Hinckley gets frustrated.
There are those days the Capitol Hill baseball coach and former Major League Baseball pitcher even feels like he’s done.
But then he remembers this is not about him.
“I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s not about me,” Hinckley said Tuesday before the Redskins were swept in a doubleheader by Northwest Classen. “It’s about the Lord and it’s about these boys growing up to be men.”
Hinckley, in his second year running the program, has not seen wins on the field — Capitol Hill has one win, a 5-1 victory over Santa Fe South, heading into regionals this week — but he has seen positive development on and off the field for his young team.
And opposing teams are taking notice, too, writing letters to Capitol Hill administration praising the players for their positive attitude and camaraderie.
“He’s shown us a lot of character,” Capitol Hill senior outfielder Denny Do said. “He’s been telling us it’s not a win or loss deal, just as long as we work as a family and play hard. I think that’s what baseball mainly is about, having fun and working with your teammates.
“It’s not about all the wins and losses. It feels good to win, but coming down to it if you’re not having fun while you’re winning, then what’s the point of the sport?”
The season has been trying, though.
Recently the Redskins were forced to play two games with just seven players, leaving Do to cover the entire outfield alone. They also played one game with eight players.
The team, though, never thought about quitting.
“Never give up,” senior utility player Ulises Villalobos said. “We’ve gotten beaten down so bad sometimes in the season, but there’s other times we’ve played so good on the field and we’ve played in unison.”
And that unison goes back to Hinckley, a Moore native who now works during the day at Hertz after walking away from baseball following the 2011 season.
Ask him about any of his players, and his face lights up with excitement as he points out how he has developed throughout the year.
“I’m really thankful that they’ve been able to see some of the fruits of their labor as they play and go,” Hinckley said. “It’s been really fun to watch them grow up. We’re going to play summer ball as a team this summer. We’ve got about five, six guys that want to play, so we’ll grow up even more.”
As they grow, Hinckley will be right by their side, providing the perfect guidance.
“Not that I have it figured out — this is only my second year to coach — but I want to love these boys and I really want them to understand what it means to not only play the game of baseball but life,” Hinckley said. “When I come out here I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for him, the Lord, and just really trying to teach these boys that some day they’re going to have to be in the workforce, they’re going to be dads and husbands, and if they quit now they’ll quit everything else.”