Stepping Up To The Plate

A year after a fantastic 9-1 start en route to a 15-5 season, the Walter Johnson Varsity boys baseball team began this season with an unexpected 1-3 record accompanied by poor body language and little enthusiasm.

During their strong 2016 campaign the team began their season going through a modified version of Lead ‘Em Up for the first few weeks. “I loved the sessions last year” said senior leader Leo Bucello, though he was admits he was skeptical in the beginning. “I thought we had a great team, good camaraderie, and we bonded well, so why did we need the sessions?” Leo thought.

Pictured: Senior Leo Bucello

However, his thoughts on the sessions changed during the next few weeks as they were exposed to different leadership themes and lessons like relationships, communication, and enthusiasm. “… After the sessions got going, we became even more of a family, even more of a unit.”  

Unfortunately, with the addition of many new players, the team chemistry they developed did not seem to carry over to the beginning of the 2017 season. After their unsatisfactory 1-3 start, Leo thought back to the camaraderie, bonding and leadership growth their team experienced the year prior. “At the beginning of this year we weren’t playing well, but beyond not playing well we weren’t together. We would make mistakes and our heads would be down. We looked like a bunch of individuals out there and no one was really leading.”

That’s when Leo stepped up to the plate and boldly approached his head coach saying, “We really need this,” in reference to the leadership sessions that helped develop their team chemistry so much the year prior.  After hearing from his Senior, his coach agreed and the Lead ‘Em Up sessions began a week later.

“I learned a few things [about leadership] last year. Especially being in a role where I knew I wasn’t a senior leader yet, but knew I was going to be in that role next season, I think that helped me get in a better position to lead these guys this year.”

In one of the most mature moves a senior leader could make for his team by putting his ego aside and asking for help, this may have been exactly what the Wildcat baseball team needed. Finishing the rest of the regular season winning 8 out of 13 games and preparing for a successful playoff run, Leo certainly jumpstarted their turnaround with his humility in asking to bring back the Lead ‘Em Up program for their team.

We need more leaders like Leo Bucello who know what their team needs and are willing to take action.  Well done Leo.

Leaders, have you been stepping up to bat for your team?

For a FREE preview of the Lead ‘Em Up curriculum, visit