As a kid in Somers Point, Eric Meyers’ and all of his friends’ dads were coaches for their sports teams.
That just isn’t the case anymore, Meyers said.
“It’s a different world we live in. Most families have two partners who are working, so there’s less time” for parents to coach, Meyers said.
Meyers has become somewhat of a sports czar in the city, as he tried to resurrect certain sports while coaching for multiple others — a volunteer job that takes up much of his time. He is also on the city’s recreation commission.
Meyers started coaching tee ball for his two sons, Noah and Jacob, until he heard from the president of the Somers Point Tee Ball organization that he would be retiring. Meyers, who played college baseball for Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, decided to take over as president in 2012.
He hasn’t stopped moving since.
Meyers’ day job is in contracting, so he knew what had to be done to renovate some of the local fields. Repairs were done to the Little League field, the Intermediate 5070 field and the Little League building.
Meyers does the renovations without pay. He said he volunteered to make this area he once played in a viable sports environment.
“I’m really proud of it,” he said. “It’s not something I did to pat myself on the back, but the kids really needed it.”
And the kids really need the fields to play sports. Those sports, Meyers said, can have a much larger impact outside the baseball diamond.
Meyers grew up playing sports every season. He became skilled at managing his time efficiently, balancing all the activities he was involved in. He’s seeing the same skills grow within his sons during their football season.
“I think that that is a byproduct for being busy and managing time so well: Once you’re done with football, you lose that rhythm,” Meyers said.
So he wants to keep kids busy by keeping available sports for each season.
Basketball has fallen by the wayside in Somers Point and could benefit if someone led a comeback of it, Meyers said. He’s afraid he may have to be the spearhead for that push.
“I’m invested in so much already,” he said. He doesn’t mean it to put anyone down; he understands parents are busy. Volunteers just aren’t there like they used to be.
When he was a kid, Meyers said, coaches were easy to find, and umpires were often volunteers. Now the city has to pay for umpires, and those basketball coaches aren’t standing in front of Meyers waiting to start a new team.
Though he’s busy with his own job, Meyers keeps finding the time.
He helped coach the Somers Point Little League All Stars to a District 16 championship, the first time they had won the title in 10 years. He also coached the Somers Point Sharks junior varsity football team, which involves children ages 10 and 11. The Sharks won the Atlantic County Junior Football League championship last season.
That’s the attitude Meyers has always wanted Somers Point to feel.
“I was proud of bringing back a winning tradition here,” he said.
Meyers is going to keep up the work and keep pushing, much like any coach trying to strengthen his team. He’s going to make the push for a new basketball team, he’s going to keep working on revitalization of the city’s sports fields and he will continue to coach his sons.
He credits his wife for always being by his side, and he credits his kids for being good students of the game. He reminds them he will always be harder on them — just like his dad was to him.
“I grew up with a parent coaching, and you learn to see it as helping,” he said.