Lady Tide gets new fieldhouse

Published 3:32 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From staff and special reports

A ribbon cutting and appreciation ceremony was held Saturday at the Picayune High School Softball Field.

The event was held to honor those individuals who gave of their money, time, and labor in building the indoor hitting and dressing facility for the Lady Tide Softball Team.

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The project was started by former Lady Tide Player Malissa Fowler in 2004, as her senior project. In 2009 it became a reality as the facility is now in full use by the current Lady Tide Players. The building includes a hitting facility, player dressing room, weight room, wash room and coaches office.

“I remember sitting with the Lady Tide Diamond Backers Board and sharing with them the plans to build the facility” Picayune head coach Kristi Mitchell said. “I told them that I wanted to raise the money through fundraising efforts to build a 3,600 square foot building. Without blinking an eye they just said, “Let’s do it.”

Those individuals who made up that board were truly a unique group. They are competitive individuals and natural leaders. Most importantly they were strong supporters of the program and had a since of pride for future years, because in reality their children might not be around for the end result.

Current assistant coach, Courtney Dickens, was a junior in high school when the project began. “My teammates and I put in alot of time fundraising. We knew we would be long gone when the project was complete but we had a since of pride for the program. We wanted to help build the program so that future generations could carry on our tradition. My teammates and I dressed in the parking lot and hunted for places to practice on rainy days. Believe me, as a coach, I let these girls know just how fortunate they are and I make sure they take care of the facility so many worked to build”, said Dickens.

They completed the first three phases of the project on faith.

They would raise money through fundraisers and complete one small step. More fundraisers, more steps. This was literally done for three years.

“There were times when I felt like the Queen of Fundraising,” Mitchell said. “But fundraising was not our only income source. Many community members and businesses gave to the cause. Through everyone’s efforts we were able to raise a total of $68,000 in money, labor and materials.”

The final phase was completed when the Picayune School Board demonstrated their support of female athletics by stepping to the plate with the remaining funds.

“I have always felt very supported by the School Board and Administration in my efforts as a teacher and coach. This was just one example of how our school district supports not only girls but all students.” Mitchell added.

“My earliest and best childhood memories are working with my dad. He taught me that nothing is going to just come to you, if you want it you have to work to get it, and also that you appreciate it a whole lot more once you get it. I try to instill the same values in the girls I coach. That is why I feel it was so important that the players are a part of fundraising and community servide. So if you bought a candle, a pack of cokes, a sausage dog or a raffle ticket from a Lady Tide Softball Player, we thank you.”

Mitchell also added “I know that everyone was not able to attend the ceremony on Saturday, but I personally thank each individual and business for your support.”