MacDill Reservist commander gives back through softball

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam C. Borgman
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing / Public Affairs
"Swing batter batter, swing batter batter... strike-three, you're out!" yells the umpire at home plate. These are both common things to hear while at a competitive fast-pitch softball game. Although, at the Pro Fast Pitch X-Treme (PFX) field near Orlando, Florida, you can also expect to hear Col. Dennis Seymour, 927th Mission Support Group commander, leading a co-ed team to victory.

For almost two-years now, Seymour has been pitching for a competitive fast-pitch soft ball league and mentoring young players who are in search of a successful future. Some who are honing softball skills having a good time and others who are driving to represent the United States in the Olympics.

"The primary goal of this league is to help female softball players to prepare for Olympic trials, the co-ed league was a way to increase the competition for the young ladies," said Seymour.

Seymour started playing fast-pitch softball competitively nearly 40-years ago, so it was no surprise to anyone about his passion to compete in the sport. It was also no surprise when his passion morphed.

"My original motivation and passion was to continue to play this game I love - that is what was driving me." said Seymour. "Once I started playing and met these young athletes who were fighting to compete at college and Olympic levels, my passion morphed into supporting the competition in these ladies."

The dedication that Seymour provides to the players over the past two-years is leading some of them down a path that otherwise would not be realistic.

"My dream is to play softball in college--but right now I am just trying to hone my skills on the field to get a scholarship because my family doesn't really have the funds for me to go to college," said Sidney Montanez, high school fast-pitch softball player. "This league and Dennis provide me the opportunity to get out on the field and have a completely different competition which has already made me a better player, and competitive for a college scholarship."

It is not just Seymour's fast-ball that has given him such a great reputation on the field though. It is his positive attitude, dedication and leadership that they look up to him for.

"Dennis is great," said Montanez. "Every game he is always helping our confidence and motivates us to give it our all."

Even as the youngest player, Montanez is no stranger to the game. With her experience, she knows the importance of taking advantage of bettering her game.

"I have been playing for 11-years but when I started out playing for PFX, two-years ago, I was weary about my hitting. Every time I was on-deck to hit, although different each time, he [Seymour] would give me a pep talk that will always be in my head. He would convince me that I've got this, and I do now," Montanez said.

The leadership does not end on the softball field though. Knowing that he's a colonel in the Air Force, they would ask him questions about the military and he began to use that as a recruiting opportunity.

"I have been able to talk with these young ladies about the military, specifically about the Air Force," said Seymour. "We will talk about life situations, faith, softball and the Air Force. It is a great recruiting opportunity, more importantly it is a great way to get to know these young people."

Seymour uses his time with the players not only as a recruiting opportunity, but also as a way to share his mentorship techniques.

"Dennis always, no matter who they are or what their skill level is, inspires everyone out on the field," said Alison Strange, PFX president. "His natural leadership skills and the obvious mentorship ability, make it clear that he is leading the players he interacts with, a quality many people never hold."

Seymour's passion to play and drive to lead is in his blood and he wants to use this to give back to the community that he calls home.

"Great communities that we live in support us [the military] in many ways and without them we would not be able to complete our mission--I feel it is important to give back to the communities we are a part of," said Seymour. "It is also a great way to meet people and find out what they are about and for them to learn what we [Airmen] are about."

Everyone in the league, including the PFX president appreciates the dedication and support that Seymour shows up with and why he does it and how it effects the player's growth.

"He is very kind and supportive," said Strange. "He is passionate, not just about the competition or his own success of each game, but the success and progression of each player, in a way that I am very proud of."

As PFX prepares for its next season in the Fall, Seymour encourages Airmen from Team MacDill to participate in this program.

"I hope to see an all Air Force team that competes in this league," said Seymour. "It would benefit the Airmen as leaders and with comradery as a unit. It would also benefit the young men and women of PFX."