KATY, Texas -- A Katy-area baseball team sports perhaps the youngest coach you will ever see.
He’s 4, but don’t sell him short.
The Houston Generals 11U Premier League baseball team practice can be one hardcore, serious, non-nonsense grind until their 4-year-old “skipper” shows up.
“Today we are playing hide and go seek,” said Brooks Schipper, known as “Coach Junior.”
Sure his jersey says “Bat Boy,” but everyone around the team knows Brooks’ real role.
“Coach Junior, and I am coach, and I want to coach all day,” Brooks said.
“I think it’s pretty funny,” said Kade Schipper, one of Brooks’ older brothers.
In practice, he’s a keen critic who is honest and frank, but always laughing. The funniest part is how he got the job.
“(It’s) because I am smart and I want to know things,” Brooks said.
Actually, he comes from a home with two older brothers, Kade and Aiden, who both play baseball. Their mom, Kristi, estimates the boys spent 28 hours a week at ballparks. So, naturally, Brooks loves the game.
In fact, he begged his mom for his own uniform so that he could be a part of Aiden’s team.
Then, Brooks forced the hand of Coach Mike Evans, a former minor league player himself.
Between innings of a recent game as the typically intense Evans tried to re-focus his team, Brooks walked into the huddle with a bag of Skittles, kneeled, and spoke up.
“Y’all have to listen to what coach says,” Brooks told the team. “If he says hit the ball and hit your pitch, hit the ball. Just don’t be afraid of it.”
It impressed Coach Evans so much that he started calling Brooks “Coach Junior.”
“Sometimes when you’re too serious, things go the wrong direction,” Evans said. “So when a young guy comes in, a guy like Brooks, (it) gives me a little bit of life. (It) makes me see the humorous side in everything that’s going on. It helps out with our team.”
“Well, (Brooks’) jokes are either really on point or they’re not,” said Aiden Schipper, a pitcher, catcher and shortstop on the team. “But, it’s really cool to have a brother like that.”
If you ask Brooks, though, coaching today’s kids is tough work. Perhaps one day soon, Coach Junior can get on the field and play, too.