It is always special at the high school level when parent can have the opportunity to coach their kid. Two generations being able to share a sport they love at that level of competition is something the family will have for the rest of their lives.
At Washington High School, their varsity softball team exceeds that with with three generations of a family all represented this season. Leading the team is Coach Dina Munoz who is assisted by her father, Carlos Medina and the starting pitcher on the team is Dina’s daughter and Carlos’ granddaughter, Tatam Kramer.
“I started playing when I was eight years-old and he was my only coach,” said Coach Munoz of her father Carlos. “We love softball. Have my daughter Tatam who is a left-handed pitcher. Her grandfather is her coach as well as he was mine.”
“I love it because I get to spend more time with him and my mom,” mentioned Tatam. “But it is also kind of difficult to meet the standards that they want so I have to push myself harder.”
“It means a lot,” stated Coach Medina. “It means a lot to me, it means we are doing something right!”
Grandpa/Dad/Coach Carlos is not just a part of the team for moral support. When you watch him out at practice, he pitches batting practice and doesn’t throw anything but strikes. He also works with his granddaughter on her pitching while standing behind the plate.
“He is 73 years-old,” explained Coach Munoz. “I mean, we practice every day so he is pitching thousands and thousands of balls. He throws junk balls, he has a drop ball, a rise ball, a change-up. This man is crazy!”
“It’s crazy sometimes considering he gets hit my the ball,” mentioned Tatam. “It’s like heart-stopping but I am happy he’s out here.”
With all these throws at 73, does he get sore?
“No I don’t get sore at all,” said Coach Medina. “Physically I am in great shape…for being a 40 year-old.”
Coach Medina likes to joke but the truth of the matter is that he has health obstacles that would keep most people far away from the softball diamond.
“He has one kidney that he gave to my mother about 12 years ago,” stated Coach Munoz. “He has arthritis in both hands and knees but he is doing really good, he’s an animal.”
“I just can’t stop,” mentioned Coach Medina. “I’ll be 85 before I slow down.”
Him donating his kidney to his wife is a story within itself. It is extremely rare for a husband and wife to be compatible for an organ transplant. But they were and she lived with his kidney for about nine years before she passed away three years ago. The fact that they were compatible for the transplant could be the definition of a soul-mate in it’s truest form.
“That was a God-sent deal,” Coach Medina recalled. “I was always positive that I was going to give her my kidney and everyone else wasn’t. Well I did!”
Growing up playing for their father, Coach Munoz was a pitcher and her younger sister was her catcher. Next year, history will be repeating itself for the family as Tatam’s younger sister will be a freshman catcher on the team and will catch Tatam for her senior season. So though this 2016 season is nearing an end for Washington softball, the family affair with the team still has many more chapters to write.