In sports, there is always one player who people cannot help but follow and watch, as their presence on and off the field is hard to miss. Timothy ‘Timmy’ DePaul, a senior at PK Yonge High School, is one such player. Not only does he lead the team with his physical abilities and skills, but he also leads by example and is always there to help his teammates.
Leader Through and Through
In the PK Yonge Varsity Baseball Team, the players choose the captains. DePaul has been captain of the Varsity team for two years now by a unanimous vote. The answer as to why is clear.
DePaul is a leader to his team in almost every aspect. He is a great friend and teammate to the other players, always there to help them and keep them going.
Drew Dawson, a junior on the team and one of DePaul’s friends, has played with him since middle school. When asked about how he is as a captain, Dawson had nothing but praise. “After a bad game, he’ll get us up, get us going, moving, and get us ready for the next game.”
Dawson recalled one particular story during a spring break game.
“I was pitching, and the guy hit a home run off me and Timmy, Timmy just starts laughing, and he makes me feel like, ‘oh it’s not that bad, it’s funny’ … he made it not as bad, he made it not suck as much.”
DePaul keeps the team moving forwards and doesn’t let his teammates get bogged down by tough competitors or losses. He keeps his teammates calm and motivated while also keeping the environment fun at the same time.
Coach Rob Brunson couldn’t ask for a better captain.
“Timmy is one of the team captains, and he’s basically the leader of the entire group,” Brunson explained. “We have a middle school, JV, and varsity [team] and they all look up to him.” Brunson maintains that he is essentially another coach on the team, someone to look to for guidance and make sure the others are on the ball.
DePaul is always looking out for his teammates. He even brings players up to the mound to give them a pep talk or speaks to players on the sidelines during games, Brunson revealed.
Coach Brunson doesn’t ask him to do anything special or put in extra work. Nonetheless, DePaul is always there to oversee cleanup, drive players to games, attend voluntary team workouts, and more.
“There’s nobody that works harder than Timmy… he puts in the work,” Brunson concluded.
DePaul’s presence on the team speaks for itself. He is always there and pushing the team, even when not in a game.
Coaching Comes Naturally
Even outside the varsity team, Timmy DePaul can still be seen leading others and being someone to look up to.
He seems to be a natural-born leader, and younger kids definitely notice him. His physical stature, standing at 6’6″, is enough to draw younger kids’ attention; however, his actions are what truly make him a role model for others.
PK Yonge has a middle school team, and although the varsity and middle school teams seldom interact, they still look to him.
“[As captain] a lot of the younger kids definitely look up to you more, like the middle schoolers and JV. I try my best to come out here and help them,” DePaul said. He not only leads and helps his own team but also helps the other teams, fully embracing what it means to lead others.
He has also been coaching a U12 baseball team on the side for two years now. When asked how it feels coaching younger kids, DePaul replied that it’s very rewarding watching their progress.
Timmy DePaul is the perfect role model to his younger brother, who always comes to games to watch him play. Brunson remarked that every time he hits the ball, his little brother is always there to say “that’s outta here” regardless of where the ball goes.
When asked who his own role model was, DePaul answered Coach Hawk. Coach Hawk has been coaching for many years now and is well-known in PK Yonge history. He recalled that Hawk always kept his morale high after a bad game helped him improve. It is not hard to see who he modeled his leadership style after.
After college, DePaul also hopes to come back and coach PK in the future, for his brother and other younger kids that look up to him.
Hard Hit Due to COVID
Last year when COVID-19 first started making its presence known in the United States, teams across the country were forced to shut down. PK Yonge’s Baseball Team especially felt the hit after they had to cut their season short 9-1.
Not only did the team’s nine-win streak abruptly end, but the senior season of many athletes was also cut short. This personally affected DePaul, who had senior friends he was suddenly unable to play a final season with.
He admitted that last year was hard for him, as he went through a slump and couldn’t get hits in for a while. He said what helped him was his teammates, and how baseball has made him mentally stronger. Instead of overthinking everything and anything, he went up to the plate with only one thought, “get a hit.”
This season DePaul was over his slump and was determined to push the team forward and have a good season. His progress is definitely evident, too, as he has had five home runs throughout the season and has the most hits among his teammates.
Comeback After COVID
After practice was stopped last season, the concerns that COVID could do the same this season were still present. Despite the fears and worries of COVID that still persist, the PK Yonge coaches have made the transition to this season seamless. “I was worried about our season getting cut short, or somebody getting sick, and we lose three weeks of our season, but it hasn’t happened so far,” DePaul explained. “So far, we’ve been good.”
PK Yonge has had multiple run-away games this season, but some teams have managed to get the better of them. Nonetheless, they are still a strong team with a current record of 15-6.
Other teams can be intimidating to play against, but DePaul doesn’t let them affect him or his teammates. Against tougher opponents, “during the practices before, we always say we’re swinging for his pitch, we’re going to show him what we do… kind of show that team what we’re made of.”
He also doesn’t fret about the losses he does incur. At the beginning of the season, PK Yonge lost their six-game win streak against West Port. About the game, DePaul admitted, “that was pretty tough, but it was bound to happen eventually.”
Although some players may dwell on past games, he tries not to give them a chance to.
TJ Shay, another captain and leader on the team, upholds this.
“He does a great job with [the other guys],” Shay remarked. “He brings them aside if they fail… and makes sure to let them know that everything’s going to be all right.”
Regardless of challenges or tough opponents, Timmy DePaul is an excellent leader who stays level-headed, helps his teammates, and pushes the team forwards.