Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

Mr. Speaker, it's that time of year again; backyards and ballparks are back in full swing. There's nothing like a day, or night, at the ballpark. I remember going to the Houston Buffs games over on the Gulf Freeway, where Finger's is now, and to Colt Stadium to watch the Colt 45s. When the wind blew, the wooden bleachers at Colt Stadium would sway. It was a big deal back then to go to a game. Most of the time, we listened to the broadcast on a transistor radio. (Are there any of those left?) If you can't be there in-person, there's nothing really quite like listening to a game on the radio.

Then came the Astrodome. The first game was played there on April 9, 1965 against the New York Yankees. Governor John Connally threw out the first pitch, and President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird joined Astros President Roy Hofheinz in his suite. There were so many flashes going off that it was blinding. The Astrodome was a marvel to the world, the ushering in of indoor baseball. Even with the great home run kings Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris playing for Bronx Bombers, the Astros beat the Yankees 2 1 in 12 innings (those were the days).

There was nothing else like the Dome--the Eighth Wonder of the World. The players would stand in centerfield and hit balls straight up to see if they could hit the roof. And, who could forget the gun slinging cowboy on the scoreboard? As a parent, I brought my kids to the games. They wore Nolan Ryan's number 34 and cheered for players like Terry Puhl, Joe Niekro, Craig Reynolds, Alan Ashby, Billy Doran and Jose Cru-u-u-u-u-u-u-z. Last season, I watched alongside my grandkids as the train moves along the track, high above the new stadium--Minute Maid Park--whenever Biggio, Bagwell and Berkman (the Killer B's) hit homeruns. Two of my favorite players happen to be none other than Kingwood's own, Phil ``Scrap-Iron'' Garner (later coach of the Astros) and Craig Reynolds.

With all of the legends of the past, you may not know that we live amongst another baseball legend: Coach David Sitton. Coach Sitton started his baseball career as a pitcher for Humble High School. Lucky for us, he returned to his alma mater and never hung up his cleats. For 28 seasons, Coach Sitton has led his team and truth be told, the folks in Humble would be lost without Coach Sitton. Some say he bleeds purple, and I don't question it.

It is said that the measure of a man is the influence that he has on the lives of others. Coach Sitton has undoubtedly made a lasting impact on the many students and teachers he has worked with over his career. He has guided the Wildcats to 8 District Championships, 2 Regional Semi Finals, 2 Regional Finals, 17 playoff appearances and been named Coach of the Year 9 times. Throughout Coach Sitton's tenure, more than 80 players have gone on to play college baseball, and some went on to play professionally. And, on February 23rd, he led his team to another significant milestone: 500 career wins.

Our hometown hero Coach Sitton also has done great things off the field. He has volunteered many hours to numerous community activities and non-profit organizations. He created the Houston Area Baseball Coaches Association. This association raises money for scholarships and helps unsigned players find colleges to further their playing skills. But, his remarkable contributions to our town were almost taken away too soon. On January 12, 2009, Coach Sitton was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident, suffering multiple fractures, head trauma, a broken nose, bleeding in his brain, 2 cracked ribs and a broken pelvis. The community immediately acted to help Coach Sitton and his family. They set up an account so that friends and family could donate money to help pay for medical expenses and they cooked and delivered meals to the family during his recovery. The outpouring of support from the Humble/Kingwood community was in true fashion of Wildcat Pride.

We are grateful and blessed that he survived and, remarkably, is once again dedicating all of his time to our local community. The community is proud of Coach David Sitton for all of his accomplishments as a coach and a leader. His most recent victory was winning his 500th game as the head coach of the Humble Wildcats. We are lucky that he will continue to provide positive mentorship as a coach, husband, father, role model and educator. The Wildcats, and the entire city of Humble, are fortunate to call him one of our own.

Now, let's play ball.

And that's just the way it is.